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Demons double down when it matters

Jon Mitchell
jmitchell@postindependent.com
Rifle High School junior Tori Pressler
Jon Mitchell / Post Independent |

RIFLE — More than two hours had passed following a 46-42 victory for the Glenwood Springs High School girls basketball team over the rival Rifle Bears on Friday night. And even after all of that time had passed, Demons coach Jacky Gaddis was still beaming.

“I don’t know that I could have asked my defense to work any harder for the last two minutes of the game,” said the third-year Demons coach, whose team rallied from a seven-point deficit in the final four minutes of the fourth quarter. “I don’t think they’ve every worked that hard, with that much focus, that much intensity and, for that matter, that much on the line.”

No doubt, the Demons (15-3 overall, 11-1 Class 4A Western Slope League play) still have an awful lot to play for as they enter the final stretch of the regular season. Thanks to Saturday’s win, the Demons kept pace in the league standings with first-place Palisade (15-2, 11-0) in the race for the 4A WSL title. Glenwood hosts Palisade on Tuesday night.

Madi Spence finished with 12 points and 14 rebounds to go with a 10-point outing from fellow seniors Hailey Armstrong and Jordan DeCrow. Half of Armstrong’s points, however, came during the Demons’ game-ending 11-0 run that rallied them from a 42-35 deficit with 3 minutes, 51 seconds remaining.

“Games like this are pretty stressful,” Armstrong said. “But we kept our composure right when we needed to. I think that made all the difference.”

Rifle freshman point guard Elly Walters finished with a game-high 21 points — including five 3-pointers — to pace the Bears (11-7, 7-5 league), who led for the duration of the game. They took a four-point lead at halftime — 27-23 — and notched their big lead of the game with a 3-pointer from Jessie Pressler for that 42-35 lead.

The Bears used a methodical offensive approach to take that lead and keep the lead for most of the game. But mistakes down the stretch in the form of turnovers and fouls helped the Demons get back into the game and showed the inexperience of Rifle’s youthful lineup.

Rifle coach Kristy Wallner, however, would prefer not to use that excuse any more.

“We had a costly moving screen and we had three costly turnovers,” Wallner said. “I think our youth showed up, and Glenwood’s a championship team that knows how to close and finish things out. But at this point, it doesn’t matter how old we are. We need to finish. We need to get it done.”

Glenwood did that down the stretch, though.

After Pressler’s 3, a layup from Makena Warren, followed by a 3-pointer from the left wing from DeCrow, pulled the Demons within 42-40 with 2:35 remaining. On the ensuing Rifle possession, Armstrong notched a steal and layup to knot the score and, after Rifle was called for traveling, Armstrong was fould from behind on her way to the basket and hit both foul shots to give the Demons the lead for good at 44-42 with 53.3 seconds left.

And it didn’t stop there, as Jaime Crowley stole Rifle’s ensuing inbounded pass and hit 1-of-2 foul shots. Then after Armstrong rebounded a missed shot from Rifle’s Samantha Hinkle, Glenwood called timeout and Rifle, needing to foul with 19.7 seconds left, weren’t able to foul until Armstrong went to the line with 7.4 seconds left. She hit 1-of-2 double-bonus foul shots, essentially ending it.

BOYS: GLENWOOD SPRINGS 63,

RIFLE 44

RIFLE — Zack Peterson finished with a game-high 19 points to lead three Glenwood players who reached double figures in scoring, and the Demons (15-3, 12-0 4A WSL) stayed unbeaten in league play by pulling away from the Bears (10-8, 7-5) in the second half.

Brian Burbidge — despite fouling out with less than a minute gone in the fourth quarter, also chipped in 10 points for the Demons, who went on a 13-2 run to start the third quarter to take a 36-22 lead on a jumper from Evrettt Marr.

The Bears, who got a team-high seven points from Avery Lujan and six from Max Doose, Luis Carreon and Morgan Robinson, stayed in the game early on by being aggressive with its offensive attack.

Rifle was limited to just three first-half field goals but finished the first half 12-of-18 shooting from the foul line.

The Demons pulled away after halftime, though, and led 41-26 at the end of the third quarter.

“We talked to the boys at halftime about not bailing them out and sending them to the line,” Glenwood coach Cory Hitchcock said. “We were playing too physical, and we fixed that at halftime.”

Rifle will continue league play on Tuesday night at winless Eagle Valley.


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