Demons pull away from Sailors in second half
An errant inbounds play that led directly to a Steamboat Springs bucket just before the first-half buzzer could have shaken Glenwood junior guard Angel Garcia’s confidence as the Sailors went into the half with a 28-26 lead. But the junior flipped the switch quickly in the third quarter, scoring 8 of his team-high 13 points in the third to pace the Demon attack as Glenwood created breathing room, leading to an eventual 60-53 win Tuesday night inside Chavez-Spencer Gymnasium over the visiting Sailors in a 4A Western Slope League showdown between two of the top teams in the league.
Garcia hit two 3-pointers and two free throws as the Demons out-scored the Sailors 17-8 in the third quarter before hanging on late as the Sailors tried to come back in the fourth, but never got closer than four points to keep the Demons perfect in 4A Western Slope play.
Early on it looked like the Sailors’ length and zone defense was going to give the Demons fits offensively as Steamboat held an 11-6 lead after one quarter of play, but the Demons pushed the pace in the second quarter as senior guard Aaron Smith started off the quarter with two tough buckets at the rim to pull the Demons to within four points at 14-10 before Garcia hit his first 3-pointer of the game from the right corner to make it 14-13 Steamboat early in the second quarter.
Following Garcia’s triple, the two teams traded buckets before Smith hit two free throws after senior guard AJ Crowley hit a twisting layup in traffic, giving Glenwood its first lead of the game at 19-17 midway through the second.
A quick 7-0 run by Steamboat put the Sailors back in front 24-19, but Crowley attacked the rim again, getting the layup to fall through contact before sinking the ensuing free throw to make it 24-22. Senior forward Gabe Suarez hit a tough floater in the lane over Steamboat center Aden Knaus to tie the game at 24-24. Tied at 26-26 following a jumper from Garcia, the Demons got a stop on defense as the ball went out of bounds with 5 seconds left off of a Sailor, giving Glenwood one last shot at the hoop. Instead, standout Steamboat junior forward Mac Riniker stepped in front of Garcia’s pass to steal the inbounds pass, putting up a floater at the buzzer to send the Sailors into the half with a 28-26 lead.
The turnover could have been demoralizing for a young player like Garcia, but the junior came out with the hot hand in the third quarter, jump-starting the Glenwood attack.
“I thought that the turnover was Angel’s only mistake [in the first half],” Glenwood Head Coach Cory Hitchcock said. “I thought he played a great first half. He missed a couple easy shots, but we talked about making most of opportunities against that Steamboat defense. He had to knock down some open looks if we wanted a chance to win, and he did that in the second half. He’s played really well last five games; his confidence is sky high. He hit that first three to start the third quarter, and you could see a little mojo going with him.”
As Garcia found his rhythm in the third quarter, so too did the Demons as Crowley hit a layup to tie the game at 28-28 before junior guard Chano Gonzalez hit a floater in the lane to tie it at 30-30, leading to Garcia’s first triple of the third quarter.
Holding a 33-30 lead, Glenwood looked to expand it, but Steamboat junior guard Tyler Doyne stole the ball on an errant pass and raced in for a layup and the foul, tying the game at 33-33. Not to be outdone, Garcia answered right back with another 3-pointer to make it 36-33 before junior guard Wyatt Ewer added on to the Demon lead with a 3-pointer of his own, stretching the Glenwood advantage to 39-33. Steamboat’s next offensive trip resulted in a 3-pointer from Knaus to make it 39-36, but two free throws from Garcia and a floater in the lane from Gonzalez gave the Demons their largest lead of the night to that point, 43-36, after three quarters of play.
In the fourth, Glenwood stretched its lead to 48-39 following a Suarez layup and a 3-pointer from Ewer. A quick 5-0 run from the Sailors made it 48-44 before Glenwood answered with a 6-0 run behind two free throws and a layup from Suarez, as well as a driving layup from Gonzalez following three straight stops on defense.
“I thought our defense was great,” Hitchcock said. “Our rotations were great, and we played well in the paint, collapsing down on them, which allowed them to shoot some threes. They didn’t shoot as well as they normally do, but we wanted to control them in the paint. I said before the game to the guys that if we could keep [Mac] Riniker in check, we’d be in good shape. The boys held him to half of his average. We always tell them defense creates opportunities offensively. When we buy in defensively, we play well.”
Holding a 10-point lead late in the game, the Demons seemed to get in a bit of a rush offensively and lost some of their focus defensively, allowing the Sailors to grab offensive rebounds late, sending good shooters to the free-throw line with roughly 30 seconds left.
Steamboat pulled to within 58-53, but two free throws from Smith iced the game for the Demons on their home floor.
In the win, Garcia led the way with 13 points, while Smith and Suarez added 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Glenwood improves to 11-3 (5-0 4A WSL) on the season. The Demons will square off with the Fruita Monument Wildcats Thursday at home with tip-off scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Glenwood 50, Steamboat Springs 14
Coming off of a nail-biting win Saturday at home against Eagle Valley, the Glenwood Springs Demons’ girls basketball team made sure Tuesday’s contest wouldn’t be nearly as close, racing out to an 18-0 lead in the first four minutes of the game against the visiting Steamboat Springs Sailors before cruising to a 50-14 win in 4A Western Slope action.
Senior forward Dani DeCrow started the scoring for the Demons, hitting a 3-pointer from the right corner and a jumper from just inside the arc to give Glenwood a 5-0 lead. Senior point guard Maddie Bolitho followed up with a 3-pointer of her own from the left wing to make it 8-0 before senior forward Saylor Warren hit a layup in traffic off of an assist from senior forward Ellie Moser to make it 10-0 Glenwood.
DeCrow followed up Warren’s bucket with a putback shot off of an offensive rebound to make it 12-0 Glenwood, before Bolitho hit her second 3-pointer of the game — this one for almost the same exact spot as the first — to make it 15-0 Demons, putting the game away quickly.
A layup from sophomore Qwynn Massie made it 17-0 before the sophomore split a pair of free throws to cap off the 18-0 run to start the game for Glenwood before Steamboat got its first shot to fall late in the first quarter.
Junior guard Logan Nieslanik came off the bench for Glenwood and hit a jumper and two quick free throws to make it 22-2 Demons, while junior guard Ashley Barragan split a pair of free throws to make it 23-2 late in the opening quarter of play. Capping off the offensive fireworks in the first quarter for Glenwood was junior guard Emily Worline, who splashed home a corner 3-pointer at the buzzer, giving Glenwood an impressive 26-2 lead after eight minutes of action.
With starters resting on the bench in the second quarter, Glenwood continued to hit shot after shot, stretching its lead to 39-9 heading into the locker room over the Sailors.
Coming out of the locker room, Warren hit two quick buckets to make it 43-9 Glenwood before a runner from Bolitho and a layup from DeCrow made it 47-9 Demons. Steamboat stopped the 8-0 run to start the second half with a bucket in transition, but a Massie jumper in the paint gave Glenwood a 49-12 lead after three quarters of play. In the final eight minutes of action, Glenwood stopped the ball on offense, allowing the clock to wind quickly with the mercy rule in affect. The two teams combined for just 3 points in the fourth quarter, giving Glenwood its third straight win in league play.
“You know, we’ve been on that side of the stick before in games like this, so I told the girls to be humble and continue to work hard no matter what,” Glenwood Head Coach Rhonda Moser said. “I’ve been there before, so I commend Steamboat for continuing to work hard. But I told the girls in a game like this, they should pick one key area of their game and work on it. There’s no reason to not be fundamentally sound in a game like this.”
Without star center Tatum Peterson for the third straight game following an injury at Rifle last week, the Demons continued their winning ways, led by the four seniors — Bolitho, DeCrow, Warren and Moser.
In the win, the seniors combined for 28 points as DeCrow led the way with 11 points, while Warren and Bolitho added 9 and 8 points, respectively. Moser chipped in with three rebounds, two steals and one assist.
“I think across the board, the seniors have played a critical role for me, in terms of being super calm,” Moser said. “They just have a control to them and just execute what I ask of them. I’ve been super happy with their discipline and leadership.”
With the win, Glenwood improves to 8-6 (3-2 4A WSL) on the season. The Demons will tip off with the Fruita Monument Wildcats Thursday evening at 6 p.m.