Demons can clinch dual league titles with wins at Steamboat on Saturday

Glenwood Springs senior John Iuele takes it to the hoop against Montrose defender Trey Schwerdtfeger during the Demons 38-36 win over the Indians in the Demon Invitational back in early December.
John Stroud/Post Independent

Glenwood Springs’ boys and girls basketball teams have been on a parallel track all season, and it could commence with a pair of 4A Western Slope League titles this weekend.

The Demons squads take their identical records of 17-3 overall and 9-0 in league on the road to Steamboat Springs for a pair of Saturday afternoon games.

Two wins would wrap up the regular season titles for Glenwood Springs, even with two league games still on the slate next week — both at home, Tuesday against Battle Mountain (4-4) and Friday versus an improving Palisade (3-5) team.

The stakes are highest for the Demon boys – under the direction of second-year coach Fred Heisel — whose closest competitor in the WSL standings happens to be the Steamboat Sailors at 7-2 in league play.

Steamboat and Glenwood shared the league last season, both at 11-1. The Demons look to win at least a share of the league crown for a fourth straight year with the current class of seniors. They last won the title outright during the 2017-18 season when they went undefeated at 12-0.

The first meeting between the two top teams, on Jan. 25 in Glenwood, saw the Demons prevail 58-44. The Sailors have had mixed results since, while the Demons have only gotten better.

Glenwood has checked off 13 straight in the win column since a 61-45 loss to the Longmont Trojans at a pre-holiday tournament on the Trojans’ home court.

In recent weeks, Glenwood and Longmont have been trading the No. 2 and No. 3 spots in the Colorado High School Activities Association’s RPI rankings. Coming into the second-to-last weekend of the regular season, it was the Demons who held the No. 2 ranking behind 20-1 Mead.

The Glenwood boys are good at spreading it around on the offensive front. Senior guard John Iuele is leading the team at 13.9 points per game, followed closely by fellow senior guard Mitchell Burt at 12.4 ppg and senior forward Patrick Young at 9.2 ppg.

Defense will be key for the Demons, as Steamboat employs a similar offensive attack. The Sailors’ top four scorers average 11.4, 9.4, 8.9 and 8.1 points per game.

A loss Saturday would still mean Glenwood could clinch the league title with wins over Battle Mountain and/or Palisade.

Lady Demons also control destiny

Glenwood Springs Demon Natalya Taylor dribbles the ball through the defending Rifle Bears during Thursday night’s rival game.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent |

The Glenwood girls have not won a league championship since the 2013-14 season under former coach Jacky Gaddis, for whom current coach Rhonda Moser was an assistant.

After hanging on for wins over Rifle Wednesday and Eagle Valley on Thursday, they also need only to win Saturday against the 4-4 Sailors to clinch the outright league title.

The Lady Demons came into the weekend holding the No. 12 spot in the state 4A RPI rankings, with Montrose being the only Western Slope team ahead of them, at No. 9.

Balanced scoring is also the name of the game for the Glenwood girls, who are led by seniors Natalya Taylor and Qwynn Massie at 9.4 and 9.1 ppg, respectively. A whole slew of players are contributing between 3.5 and 5.7 ppg behind the leaders.

A win in any of the final three league games for the Lady Demons would secure coach Moser’s first league title in her fourth year at the helm.

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