Demons sweep visiting Eagle Valley Devils in Thursday night hoops action
Special to the Post Independent
The Glenwood Springs Demons played host to the Eagle Valley Devils on Thursday evening at the Chavez-Spencer Gymnasium, and turned in a sweep of their Western Slope League opponent.
The Glenwood ladies won 39-30, and the boys kept up their end of the bargain with a convincing 59-44 victory.
With future games not a certainty given pandemic quarantine rules, the Demons celebrated senior night, and it was senior post player Gracie Dietrich who turned in her best all-around performance of the season. Dietrich scored 14 points and made a general nuisance of herself on the defensive end and in the rebounding department, helping Glenwood to leads of 13-6 at the end of the first quarter and 27-13 at halftime, en route to the conference win.
“We worked a lot on post offense this week. Just getting her (Dietrich) back inside,” said Glenwood head coach Rhonda Moser. “She had good shot selection tonight and she stayed in her position. Gracie played well.”
Dietrich shared her coach’s enthusiasm for her stellar night on the hardwood and the team’s overall play.
“It was just finally hitting me that we need to make the best of what is left of this season,” Dietrich said. “We had good chemistry tonight and moved the ball around very well. It was nice to have family and a little crowd here tonight also.”
Just last week, Roaring Fork Schools began allowing a limited number of family members to watch the games.
Helping to propel Glenwood’s first period lead were 3-pointers from sophomore guard Joslyn Spires and junior Pamela Rodriguez. Dietrich took a nice feed from fellow senior Maddie Moser and scored inside and then followed that up with an off-balance bank shot to give the Demons a 17-8 advantage.
Most all of the offense Eagle Valley was able to muster came from junior Anna Gill who notched a couple of 3-pointers and a score in the paint to keep the Devils within 19-10 as the conclusion of the first half neared.
Demon junior forward Kenzie Winder hit a nifty spinning reverse layup and sophomore guard Breauna Sorensen found Rodriguez open for an assisted layup. Sorensen then got a basket for herself on an inside shot to pad Glenwood’s big lead.
Glenwood stayed aggressive on both ends of the court in the third period. Junior guard Ella Johnson hit a short jumper and sophomore post Mattea Enewold made a pivoting move in the lane for a score, and the Demons margin stayed true at 35-21.
Eagle Valley made a brief run early in the final stanza, but a Dietrich jumper and a proficient, time-killing spread offense allowed Glenwood to tap into victory mode.
“We’re all just so excited that our game is coming together,” said point guard Maddie Moser. “We all know the potential is there, and it became a reality tonight.”
Besides Dietrich’s 14 points, the Demons got 7 points from Spires, 5 points from Rodriguez and 4 points from Winder.
The Demon girls now stand at 2-3 overall and 2-1 in the conference.
Boys: Glenwood 59, Eagle Valley 44.
Senior Alec Nykerk and juniors Reid Swanson and Blake Nieslanik put the rest of the Glenwood Demons on their back in the first half by scoring all but three of the team’s 29 first half points.
Junior Aiden Nieslanik added the 3-point goal to give the Demons the edge and help Glenwood hold off several Eagle Valley charges in the second half to record the 59-44 Class 4A WSL win.
Sporting a sizeable 21-7 lead after the first quarter of play, the Demons saw the Devils begin a slow and steady comeback by outscoring Glenwood 13-8 in the second quarter and 11-8 in the third frame. Each time Eagle Valley came knocking at the door, though, there were several Demons who stepped up to keep it closed and locked tight.
Nykerk got a basket to drop to start the second half, and when the Devils crept within 32-29 of the Demon lead at the 3:11 juncture of the third period, Swanson lofted one of his patented corner 3-pointers to give his team some room to breathe.
Then Blake Nieslanik, doing yeoman work under the basket on the boards, hit a couple of charity tosses to give Glenwood a 37-31 advantage.
With a smattering of fans in the gym and some welcome crowd noise, senior guard Anthony Avilles scored on two driving layups and then hit a third short banker off an unselfish assist from fellow senior Omar Bonilla, as Glenwood began to cruise with a 43-32 lead.
Swanson followed with a steal and a layup, and then came a galloping drive down the lane for a bucket by junior Stevie Vega to keep the momentum squarely in the Glenwood corner. Aiden Nieslanik salted things away with a couple of foul shots to put the game on ice for the home team.
Demon coach Fred Heisel was pleased with his team’s showing, but still sees room for needed improvement as the always tough league schedule throws three games the Demons’ way next week.
“I was pleased with our effort, but we still have a long ways to go in terms of decision-making, especially on the defensive end,” Heisel said. “We shot the ball better tonight and executed well. Anthony (Avilles) played well and Omar (Bonilla) had a heck of a defensive game.”
The Glenwood scoring ledger had Swanson with a game-high 17 points, Blake Nieslanik with 13 points, Nykerk tallied 10 points, Avilles and Aiden Nieslanik each contributed 8 points.
Glenwood is now 2-3 overall and 1-2 in WSL play.
Both the Glenwood girls and boys will be on their home court again next Tuesday evening hosting the Palisade Bulldogs in another WSL matchup.
In other Thursday action
Rifle girls 27, Steamboat Springs 23
On the road at Steamboat Springs Thursday, the Rifle Lady Bears survived a 12-8 third quarter by the host Sailors to claim the 27-23 win.
Rifle held a 12-6 halftime advantage. Individual scoring stats were not immediately available. Next up, Rifle (4-1, 40 in the 4A Western Slope League) hosts the Coal Ridge Titans in a nonleague affair on Saturday.
Rifle boys 35, Steamboat Springs 51
In the boys game, Rifle jumped to a 11-6 first quarter lead, and was up 21-19 at halftime. But a 21-3 run by the host Sailors in the third doomed the Bears efforts in a 51-35 loss.
Bears scoring stats were not immediately available. Next up, Rifle (2-4, 1-2) hosts the Eagle Valley Devils in a 4A Western Slope League matchup on Tuesday.
Post Independent senior reporter John Stroud contributed to this report.
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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.