Demon basketball squads raring to go
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Kelsie Hert and her Glenwood Springs teammates weren’t ready for their season to be done by the time the last season’s Class 4A girls basketball Final Four rolled around. Though underdogs, the Demons hoped to leave Boulder with nothing less than a state title.Thanks to Harrison, which ended Glenwood’s run with a 57-41 win in the state semifinal, that didn’t happen. But, after losing only two seniors from that team, the Demons are again running with a go-big-or-go-home mentality.”We should have made it farther,” said Hert, a 6-foot post player. “I don’t think we were, like, used to the way how quick the Front Range teams are. Our skill level is there, but we just broke down mentally. We were in unfamiliar territory.Lesson learned, and just about everybody is back and eager to build last season’s success. The Demons will surely miss graduated post Sam Ciani, a All-4A Western Slope League first teamer. Deborah Collins also graduated.
Fronting the returning pack are Hert, sister guards Sharaya and Katrina Selsor, Avery Denney, Chelsea Vallario and Natasha Derby. All are seniors except Katrina Selsor and Derby. Glenwood head coach Bryan Derby is eager to hit the court with a veteran, playoff-seasoned nucleus.”We’re really looking to our seniors to mentor the younger kids, let ’em figure out what this basketball program is all about,” he said. “That experience is huge. As soon as we lost last year, the seniors now weren’t happy. Their philosophy over the summer was just getting back there somehow.”Abbe Vincent, Abby Barnes, Laura Young and Breanna Richardson, all juniors, will be some of the upperclassmen’s mentorees.And so the well-tooled Demons start the season ranked 10th by RockyPreps in the preseason Class 4A poll and with just one goal in mind: to win it all.”Yeah, I mean obviously we were so close we could taste the state championship,” said Sharaya Selsor, who along with Hert is a team captain. “Glenwood had never been there, much less had they won it. We really want to be a part of that first team.”
Football playoffs loss leaves Demons determinedA shocking first-round exit from the state football playoffs has the boys basketball Demons hungry. Six of the core nine played on that football team, and none of them have forgotten about losing their 28-27 overtime loss to Sterling back on Nov. 10.”It was very hard,” said Kevin Screen, a junior guard. “Our minds are still in the (football) playoffs.”So basketball must be a welcome diversion for this Glenwood team, which advanced a round into the 2006-07 playoffs with a first-round win over Alameda. Few players return from that team, as the Demons lost six seniors to graduation, including big men Kevin Warkentin and Ryan Foraker.But a talented junior class will hit the court in 2007-08, looking to make their mark. Screen and backcourt mate Dakota Stonehouse front that pack. Connor Riley is also part of a junior class that’s played together since its pee-wee hoops days.”All the juniors have,” said Stonehouse, who along with Screen is a team captain. “The seniors would also play with us, during recess. We’ve been growing up together. It helps a lot just to know how we play.”
Patrick Hailey, the Demons’ starting center, at 6-4, is also a member of the junior basketball class, as is Jordan Ciani. One of the Demon juniors, though, is a newcomer. That’d be Donnie Jennert, who moved to Glenwood from Florida last year and stands 6-8.Glenwood has just two seniors on its roster – Jason Whiting and Adam Hawkins.Demons coach Greg Hire anticipates a bit of a learning curve at season’s start with as much talent as was lost to graduation, but he thinks the pieces should all fall into place relatively quickly given the group’s history together. It didn’t hurt that many were along for last year’s playoff ride.”Any time you get to the state level and play against Front Range schools, that’s a good thing,” he said. “The intensity is a lot different in the playoffs.And, of course, the hoops Demons will be looking to avenge their early football exit.”We need to get bragging rights, stuff like that,” Stonehouse said. “It’ll be a good year. We’re all excited.”
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The Coal Ridge High boys suffered their first 3A Western Slope League loss of the year Thursday night on the road at Gunnison, falling to the defending league champion Cowboys 65-45.