Demons outlast Indians for 4A district crown
GRAND JUNCTION — In order to be 4A Western Slope District champions, it seemed only fitting that the Glenwood Springs High School girls basketball team would have to unseat the defending champs.
Mission accomplished. The Demons got timely big plays to outlast Montrose, 41-37, to capture the district tournament crown.
Last year, the Indians ousted Glenwood, 52-25, in the semifinals. So the Demons were searching for a measure of revenge, and clutch 3s from Delaney Gaddis and a key block from Madi Spence proved to be the difference in this year’s rematch.
The first quarter went to script, as both teams looked to control the paint. Evenly matched size-wise, the Demons (22-1) couldn’t dominate the glass the way they had in the tournament’s first two rounds.
Gaddis was hitting her shots for most of the first half, but her efforts were matched by Montrose sophomore Elise Hill, who notched nine points by halftime. An athletic three-point play by Gaddis gave Glenwood a 21-19 advantage heading into the locker room. She and Spence accounted for all Demons’ scoring in the first 16 minutes.
The teams traded buckets in the opening minutes of the third, before Jordan DeCrow came to life. The junior knocked home five points in a 7-2 run that built the Demons’ lead to its largest margin at 28-21.
Montrose (15-8) fought back to within three heading into the final quarter, then continued the run into the fourth. All told, a 9-2 run tied the game at 30 with four minutes to play. Montrose hounded Gaddis in the second half, but in typical fashion, the Glenwood senior found a way to create her own shot under pressure, knocking in 3s on consecutive possessions in the final 2 minutes to put the top seed in front, 38-37. Senior Laura McDermott split a pair of free throws to make it a two-point game.
Then, Spence provided the play of the game for Glenwood. With Montrose looking to tie, the Indians got the ball inside to Hill, who spun to the basket, only to be rejected by Spence. DeCrow was fouled and closed the game out at the line.
Gaddis ended the contest with 21 points to lead all scorers. DeCrow’s nine points all came in the second half. Spence finished with nine as well. Hill paced Montrose with 11.
Glenwood coach Jacky Gaddis spoke highly of her team’s composure down the stretch. “I think in those moments, I’m more nervous than the girls are.”
As for the overall accomplishment, Gaddis added, “This was tremendous, especially after what happened here last year. I’m so proud of our girls.”
Meanwhile, Delaney Gaddis ranked this moment among her best. “I thought it would be tough to beat my sophomore year [20 wins], but this has by far been the best season during my four years,” the Glenwood senior said. “We have such good team chemistry.”
The Demons reached 22 wins for the first time since 2007-08, when they reached the Great Eight round of the 4A state tournament. Glenwood will await their seeding and first opponent for the 4A State Tournament, which begins with opening-round play on Tuesday.
Palisade 63, Rifle 46
PALISADE — Chante Church scored a career-high 35 points on 10-of-18 shooting from the field for the Bears (10-11 overall) at Palisade High School, but the Bulldogs got double-figure scoring from four players to take third place in the tournament.
Christa Brown scored 15 points, Cruz Mastas had 14, Jenna Brown had 13 and Casey Brown chipped in 11 for the Bulldogs (15-8), who used a big scoring outputs in the second and third quarters to pull away.
Emily Neuroth added five points and seven rebounds for the Bears, who finished fourth in the district tournament with the loss.
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The Coal Ridge High boys suffered their first 3A Western Slope League loss of the year Thursday night on the road at Gunnison, falling to the defending league champion Cowboys 65-45.