Demon boys advance to 4A tourney field
The heartbreak, the finger-pointing, the snickers heaped on the Glenwood Springs boys during a 2-17 regular season have been erased.
The Demons’ 71-57 win over Palisade in Tuesday’s District Tournament pigtail game gave new meaning to what had been one of the most dismal seasons endured by a Glenwood Springs basketball team of either gender in many seasons.
Now, the Demons can look ahead to this weekend’s 4A District Tournament in Grand Junction with renewed hope and confidence.
Jeremy Wilson, who led the Demons with 22 points, hit the shot of the game with 4:27 left in the third quarter.
The senior forward’s 3-pointer extended Glenwood’s slim one-point lead to four points midway through an 8-2 run that gave the Demons a 49-41 advantage near the end of the period.
“That was a pivotal moment,” said Wilson of the shot. “We had a little bit of a run, and all it needed was a climax. That happened and it gave us a lot of confidence.”
It sure did.
Once Wilson hit the bucket, Palisade never threatened.
In fact the Bulldogs failed to score for the rest of the fourth quarter after Ben Leonard’s basket with 3:43 left in the period gave the Demons their first lead since early in the first half.
“We just fed off that the rest of the game,” Wilson said.
Brian Pyland made sure by hitting a couple of key baskets in the fourth quarter to keep the Bulldogs off balance.
Pyland finished the night with 15 points. But, more importantly, his team-high eight assists allowed the Demons to complete a number of offensive drives.
“Brian had an awesome game,” Wilson said. “He was just working his butt off, and that’s what we needed. We needed a big guy inside that’s mobile. He can go outside and shoot the 3; that makes him really dangerous.
“Teams don’t expect that from a 6-foot-4 guy, that can hit from the outside and pass as well as he did. That was a big key for us.”
Palisade mounted a mild run toward the end of the game, pulling a 60-48 Demon lead back to nine points with three minutes remaining, but the Demons wouldn’t topple.
“We picked up the defense in the third quarter, that’s what the key to the game was,” said Glenwood Springs boys coach Roger Duroux. “By picking up our defense, it made things happen offensively that weren’t happening in the first half.
“We were getting looks inside that we weren’t getting in the first half. Playing intense defense let them relax on offense, and that’s when they started hitting shots,” Duroux said of the Demons, who beat Palisade for the second time in four days. Tuesday’s victory extended Glenwood’s recent winning streak to two in a row.
The Demons open 4A District Tournament play against Rifle, the Western Slope League regular season champion and the tournament’s No. 1 seed, Thursday night at Mesa State College. Tipoff is set for 8:15 p.m.
In the girls 4A pigtail playoff Tuesday, Delta trailed at halftime but the Panthers rallied to eliminate Battle Mountain 51-41.
The Glenwood Springs girls are scheduled to open District Tournament play at 6:30 p.m. Thursday against Montezuma-Cortez at Grand Junction Central High School.
Meeker 54, Basalt 24
In Class 3A, the Meeker Cowboys rode into the Big House Tuesday night and rode right back home with a big 54-24 pigtail victory over Basalt in the boys division of the 3A District Tournament.
The Cowboys advance to take on top-seeded and undefeated Cedaredge in Thursday’s tournament quarterfinals, scheduled for Palisade High School.
The Basalt boys, who struggled to score points all night, finished the season 7-13. The Horns managed only four points in the second quarter as they fell behind 27-11 at halftime.
Ryan Thompson led Basalt with nine points. Dan Moebius added six. Ki Mulcahy added five, including a lone 3-pointer.
Chris Viscardi and Danny Seely led Meeker with 16 and 13 points, respectively.
Sean McGraw added nine and Bryce Ducey added eight for the Cowboys, 8-9 on the season.
Also Tuesday night, Gunnison ousted the Olathe boys 81-49. Gunnison will take on the Eagle Valley boys Thursday.
In other 3A Western Slope District pigtail games Tuesday night, the Aspen girls eliminated Hotchkiss 53-34 at the Skierdome.
Lacee Patterson had 20 for the Skiers while Lizzie Suiter added 18.
Aspen will advance to face the Roaring Fork girls at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Rifle High School.
The Eagle Valley girls eliminated Meeker 55-43 Tuesday, advancing to take on Cedaredge on Thursday night.
Also Tuesday, the Olathe girls beat Gunnison 49-42. Olathe will take on No. 1 Basalt in the girls tourney on Thursday night at Rifle High School.
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The Coal Ridge High School boys soccer team enters the 16-team Class 3A state tournament as the No. 5 seed this week.