Demon girls, boys get set for Sweet 16 |

Demon girls, boys get set for Sweet 16

Jeff Caspersen
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

DENVER ” With four seniors guiding the way, it isn’t exactly a full-fledged youth movement, but the Glenwood Springs girls basketball team has relied heavily on its youngsters in returning to Class 4A’s Sweet 16 for a fifth straight season.

Youngsters who’ve made quite the impression on their elder teammates.

“They’re a fun group,” Demon senior Katrina Selsor said at a practice last week. “They’re going to do great things after the seniors leave.”

Freshmen Lexie Warkentin and Cassidy Gaddis and sophomore starter Kenzie Kuhn, among others, have provided valuable minutes in the Demons’ push for a third consecutive 20-win season. A win over Pueblo East in the Sweet 16 tonight would deliver just that.

With program mainstays like Sharaya Selsor and Kelsie Hert graduating last May, few forecasted Glenwood would be making this kind of noise in 2008-09.

Head coach Bryan Derby was among those few.

“You know, I thought coming in that this could happen,” said the third-year frontman, whose team carries a 19-3 record into tonight’s Sweet 16 showdown with Pueblo East. “It’s a good ballclub. We’re small, but yet we’re athletic. It was just a matter of making all that talent work together.”

That talent ended meshing just fine under the senior leadership of Katrina Selsor, Laura Young, Breanna Richardson and Tasha Derby. And the youngsters have taken to their older teammates, gleaning every bit of basketball knowledge they can.

“They’ve learned a lot from the older girls,” Coach Derby said. “It’s good to see that.”

Much, the coach says, is passed on by example.

“(The seniors) are leaders in a quiet way,” he relayed. “They don’t speak a whole lot. They just lead by their actions. They show what it takes in a close game to win. They see that and say, ‘Hey, that takes determination.'”

The foundation is clearly there for Selsor’s words that great things lie in the future of Glenwood girls hoops to ring true.

“Right now, we have one junior, two sophomores and four freshmen that pretty much come off the bench,” Coach Derby said. “It’s been big. It’s always nice to have these younger kids step up and work hard. It makes my job easier.”

The Demons will need contributions from every corner of the roster this weekend. Tonight, they’ll face 17-7 Pueblo East. A win would earn Glenwood a shot at either Moffat County or 24-0 Broomfield in Saturday’s Tanya Haave Region final.

Broomfield brought the Demons’ season to an end in last year’s Great Eight and went on to win a second straight 4A title.

But first Glenwood will have to get past Pueblo East, which advanced to the Sweet 16 with a 45-42 win over Windsor in the second round of the playoffs. Tracey Versteeg scored 13 points to lead the Eagles, seeded third in the Tanya Haave Region, in what was a defensive affair. Elly Carter added 11 points.

Tonight’s game tips off at 8 p.m. at Denver Manual High School’s Thunderdome.

DENVER ” Glenwood Springs boys coach Greg Hire planned on targeting his team’s defense in practice this week in preparation for the Demons’ Sweet 16 date with Lewis-Palmer.

While the Demons had plenty of defensive success in Saturday’s 71-53 second-round win over Montrose, fine-tuning is necessary if Glenwood hopes to advance deeper into the playoffs.

“We’ll be looking to tweak our zone,” Hire said on Sunday. “Even though we did well, we left gaps that teams can take advantage of.”

The Demons have also been working on their shooting.

They’ll put all that to a game-action test Friday against Lewis-Palmer.

The Rangers are heading into the Sweet 16 with a 17-7 overall record after beating Alamosa 63-53 in the second round. Jordan Ververs scored 21 for Lewis-Palmer, which is located in Monument.

Friday’s game, which will be played at Denver Manual High School’s Thunderdome, is slated to start at 6:30 p.m.

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