Demons need comeback win in OT to stay undefeated in league
Post Independent correspondent
Hosting the Palisade Bulldogs on Friday night, the Glenwood Springs boys and girls basketball teams both had the opportunity to close out the regular season with identical 20-3 records and to be crowned champions of the 4A Western Slope League with unblemished 12-0 conference marks.
It was no easy feat for the Demon boys, though, who needed overtime to score the 55-47 win over the Bulldogs.
Glenwood was forced to dig out of early 17-5 and 26-12 deficits in the first half of play, en route to a heart-pounding comeback win in overtime against a scrappy Palisade team.
Senior forward Watts Erb did most of the damage to Glenwood, as he accounted for nine points in the game’s early stages to give Palisade a boost on the scoreboard and in the confidence department.
Glenwood’s A.J. Adams and Adam Schrader combined to knock down three free throws for Glenwood, and senior guard Mitchell Burt got the Demons’ only basket of the first quarter as the home team faced a 12-point deficit.
Palisade used methodical play in a spread offense to take advantage of open lanes to the basket to get inside scores on the Glenwood defense. Sophomore guard Donovan Maestas hit a short jumper for the Bulldogs to put them up 26-12 with 1:57 to go in the first half, as the Demons faithful began to get edgy on what was a celebratory senior night for Glenwood between games.
Glenwood used an 8-0 run, capped by a jumper from senior John Iuele as the Demons closed to 26-20. Patrick Young scored on a driving layup for Glenwood and Burt matched Young with a score in the lane as the Demons began to inch closer to the lead.
Demons senior Gabe Kimbrough brought a spark with him off the bench by hitting a 3-pointer from deep in the left corner, and senior post Will Narvaez provided some heat with a bank shot and a tip-in score to make it 36-31 in favor of Palisade.
Young canned a big 3-pointer from straight on, and with Glenwood trailing 45-42, Iuele confidently dropped in a triple of his own as the Demons had come all the way back to 45-all with 22 seconds showing on the clock.
The Bulldogs missed a corner attempt as time expired and the Demons went on to make the overtime period their own showcase with baskets by Narvaez, Burt and Schrader, as the Bulldogs had used up all of their firepower in regulation and never made a serious threat to the Demons in overtime.
Iuele (16 points), Young (11 points), and Burt (10 points) topped the Demons (20-3, 12-0 WSL) in scoring.
“The team wins tonight,” Demons coach Fred Heisel said. “Everybody contributed and played a big part in this game, especially in the fourth quarter.”
Iuele, Young, Burt, Narvaez, Schrader, Adams, and Kimbrough all played their final regular season home game on Friday night. The Demons, though, are assured of a home playoff game next Saturday in the first round of the 4A state tournament.
Glenwood 45, Palisade 25
Using two decisive scoring runs — both fueled by senior guard Natalya Taylor — the Glenwood girls got the evening started off in fine fashion with a convincing 45-25 win over the Bulldogs before a near-capacity home crowd.
Behind the inside play of junior post players Elizabeth Hawkins and Alexis Marushack, Palisade jumped out to a 9-7 lead after the first quarter of play. A slow initial period for the Demons saw Taylor finally get the home team on the scoreboard with a jump shot in the lane with 3:49 showing on the clock. Senior post Qwynn Massie and sophomore guard Ella Johnson also hit baskets for Glenwood before the first 8 minutes had expired.
The Demons ran off nine straight points to begin the second period, and it was Taylor who was right in the thick of the scoring frenzy. Taylor scored a quick 2-point jumper and then got a basket off Glenwood’s stifling full-court press.
Massie got into the act with a turnaround flip shot near the baseline to keep the Demon adrenaline flowing. A wide open Taylor then took her time to sight-in a 3-pointer to put Glenwood up 16-9, forcing a Bulldog timeout.
A 19-2 Glenwood scoring advantage in the third period spelled doom for the Bulldogs. Taylor hit a 3-pointer to open the quarter and Massie scored along the baseline as the Demons increased their lead and inched ever-closer to an undefeated league campaign.
Taylor hit on a baseline drive and a short jumper, then junior guard Maddie Moser knocked down a trey as Glenwood ran away and hid from Palisade.
Taylor led the Glenwood scoring column with 16 points, followed by Massie with eight and Moser with six points.
Seniors Taylor, Massie, Michelle Marshall, Zeva Carruth, Kate Shanahan,and Hadley Yellico played their final regular season home game for the Demons.
The Glenwood girls (20-3, 12-0 WSL) will now await the state 4A state tournament seeding which will be announced on Sunday afternoon.
Rifle splits with Battle Mountain
In other Friday night hoops action, the Rifle boys fell 69-45 at home against the Battle Mountain Huskies. The Bears conclude the regular season at 10-13 overall and 3-9 in the 4A WSL.
Rifle’s girls closed out the regular season with a win, 45-33, over the Huskies to finish at 9-14 overall and 7-5 in the league.
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The 4A state softball playoffs ended for the Rifle Lady Bears Saturday with a pair of shutout losses to Elizabeth 10-0 and Roosevelt 8-0 in the regional round at Johnstown.