Demons swept by Warriors in non-league tilt
A steal by Grand Junction Central’s Julio Gilando away from a falling AJ Crowley of Glenwood with just two seconds left in the game sealed a 64-62 by the visiting Warriors Saturday afternoon inside Chavez-Spencer Gymnasium in a terrific non-league tilt.
Glenwood was able to battle back from a 9-point halftime deficit to hold a 53-47 lead early in the fourth quarter before faltering down the stretch, allowing the Warriors to hang on for a tough win.
Early on the two teams would trade buckets in the first quarter as sophomore forward Luke Gair hit two tough buckets in the paint, while sophomore forward Holden Kleager and sophomore guard Angel Garcia also hit tough shots to give the Demons an early 8-4 lead.
Following a driving layup in transition by sophomore guard Chano Gonzalez made it 10-5 Glenwood, the Demons stumbled on offense, allowing the Warriors to tie the game at 10-all before senior forward Carlos Nolasco-Montes hit a tough shot in traffic to give Glenwood a 12-10 lead after one quarter of play.
In the second quarter Nolasco-Montes would stay hot, hitting two big driving layups to give Glenwood a 16-15 lead. After Nolasco-Montes’ layup, Grand Junction Central’s Hunter Kelchner completed a three-point play to give the Warriors an 18-16 lead, but Garcia would tie it at 18-all with a layup.
From there, the Warriors would go on an 11-0 run to take a 29-18 lead before Nolasco-Montes would hit a jumper to send the Demons into the half trailing the Warriors, 29-20.
Coming out of the half after making adjustments following a rough final four minutes and change of the second quarter, the Demons looked like a completely different team as Glenwood caught fire from beyond the three-point line, hitting five three-pointers on the way to 26 points in the quarter to take a 46-45 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
“We talked at the half about being down by bigger margins and coming back in games,” Glenwood Head Coach Cory Hitchcock said. “We had to keep chipping away and getting stops on defense, and the boys were able to do that. Right before the second half started I told them play basketball like it’s open gym where they’re loose and hitting shots. They were able to do that, and it was by far our best quarter overall this season. The boys were working the ball around and hitting open shots.”
In the entertaining third quarter, Crowley and Garcia hit back-to-back three-pointers before Kleager hit a three-pointer from the wing to pull Glenwood to within 33-31 early in the third quarter.
The Warriors would score four straight points following Kleager’s three to take a 37-31 lead before Crowley would hit another three-pointer to really ignite the home crowd.
Not done yet, Crowley would then hit a layup in transition off of a terrific feed from junior guard Aaron Smith to make it 37-36 Warriors, leading to another three-point play in the paint from Kelchner to stretch the Warrior lead back to 40-36.
Garcia would then score three points on a jumper and a free throw before Crowley would then hit two straight layups to give Glenwood its first lead of the second half with 52 seconds to go in the third quarter, 43-42.
Central senior guard Kolby Steves would then sink a three-pointer from the right wing to give the Warriors a late 45-43 lead in the quarter, but Garcia would answer back with ice in his veins, splashing home his second three-pointer of the quarter to cap off the 26-point quarter, giving the Demons a 46-45 lead heading into the final eight minutes of play.
Keeping pace with the third quarter, both teams would stay hot in the fourth as Nolasco-Montes and Gair would hit buckets in the paint to make it 50-45 Glenwood.
A few moments later Smith would get in on the three-point party, hitting a tough shot from the left win to make it 53-47 Glenwood in what appeared to be — at the time — the moment Glenwood would start to pull away.
Credit to the Warriors though, who wouldn’t go away as senior center Skyler McDonald hit a tough shot in the paint before Gilando hit a layup as well to pull the Warriors to within 53-51.
A layup from senior guard Nolan Scott would tie the game at 53-all before Steves would hit another big three-pointer to give the Warriors a 56-53 lead late in the fourth quarter.
Kelchner would then sink two free throws before Crowley would answer with a spinning layup through contact to send him to the line looking to complete the three-point play. The ensuing attempt from the charity stripe would hit the front rim, but on the next trip down Crowley would hit a pullup jumper at the free throw line to pull Glenwood to within 58-57.
Kelchner and Smith would then trade buckets to give Central a 60-59 lead, leading to a layup from Gilando following a long possession with the Warriors looking to kill the clock.
Following Gilando’s layup, Crowley would hit his biggest shot of the night — a three-pointer from the left corner with 24 seconds left in the game — to tie it at 62-all.
On Central’s final possession, Gilando drew a questionable foul call where he’d sink two free throws to make it 64-62, setting up his heroics when he picked the pocket of a slipping Crowley right before the final buzzer to cap off the thrilling two-point win for the Warriors.
For Glenwood (10-8, 5-2 4A WSL), Crowley finished with a team-high 19 points, all of which came in his monster second-half.
“I was really happy with his performance and effort tonight,” Hitchcock said. “We talk to him all the time about being aggressive and he responded tonight. He has a ton of potential as a player and he’s a prime-time player for us.”
Garcia finished with 15 points for Glenwood, while Nolasco-Montes and Gair chipped in with 10 and six points, respectively.
GJ CENTRAL 65, GLENWOOD 55
Despite staying with the visiting Lady Warriors basket-for-basket in the first half, foul trouble and some questionable calls in the second half ultimately did in the Glenwood Springs Lady Demons Saturday afternoon against the Grand Junction Central Warriors in a non-league matchup inside Chavez-Spencer Gymnasium.
The game between the two 4A schools would get off to a fast start as each team caught fire in the first quarter from the field as Glenwood held a slight 17-15 lead after eight minutes of play thanks to six points in the opening frame from freshman guard Natalya Taylor and four points from junior guard Maddie Bolitho.
Taylor, who has started some this season for the Demons, came off the bench early in the first quarter due to foul trouble to provide a serious scoring spark for the Lady Demons.
“I think that the last couple of games she’s felt kind of frustrated because she feels she hasn’t been playing to her potential, so I’ve really been talking to her about the jump she’s made from last year to this year,” Glenwood Head Coach Rhonda Moser said. “I told her this week that she has great instincts on the floor and really needed to trust them, and tonight she played really well for us.”
Looking to stay hot in the second quarter, both teams continued to hit shot after shot as sophomore guard Ximena Gutierrez and junior forward Tatum Peterson carried the scoring load for Glenwood in the quarter as Gutierrez hit two tough shots to start the second before Peterson went to work in the paint to score six points for the Lady Demons.
Late in the second quarter, things took an absurd turn as Central Head Coach Mary Doane was ejected from the game with her second technical foul, this time for giving instructions to her inbounding guard following two free throws from Glenwood senior guard Lauren Howell.
The official on the far side of the court handed out the second technical to Doane, who received a technical early in the second quarter for questioning a call. Doane’s ejection was a sign of things to come from the officiating side of things in the second half.
Following Doane’s ejection, Howell would hit one of the two technical free throws to give Glenwood a late 33-32 lead, but Central senior guard Sienna Batchelor would draw a late foul, hitting one of two free throws to send the teams into the half all knotted up at 33-33.
“That was one of the best halves we’ve played all year for sure,” Moser said.
Coming out of the break, Glenwood was forced to play some inexperienced players from stretches of the third quarter as the Lady Demons had three players with three fouls.
Being forced to play conservative defensively to avoid more foul trouble, the Lady Demons had a tough time slowing down the Lady Warriors in the third quarter as Central went on a 15-0 run to take a 48-35 lead before Bolitho was able to stop the run with a floater in the lane.
“We tried to go into a zone for a few minutes to not pick up some fouls there, but unfortunately they were hitting shots and ours just weren’t falling,” Moser said.
Peterson then hit a jumper off of an inbound play before Gutierrez was able to knife into the lane for a tough layup to make it 48-41 Central, but a layup from Central junior forward Jacquelyn Mitchell gave the Lady Warriors a 50-41 lead heading into the final quarter of play.
In the final eight minutes, Glenwood would see four players foul out, but not before Bolitho would hit a three-pointer and Howell would hit two three-pointers to keep the Demons alive.
With foul trouble a problem all game for Glenwood, the final stats showed how lopsided the calls were as Central shot 33 free throws in the game to just 10 from Glenwood, which was on its home floor no less.
“I think the problem in the second half was that we were playing conservative because we were in foul trouble,” Moser said. “We weren’t chasing after rebounds and closing out like we normally do because the girls were worried about fouling out. We were missing opportunities to stop the ball as well because we were afraid of fouling.”
For the Lady Demons (7-11, 3-4 4A WSL), Peterson finished with 12 points, five rebounds and three assists, while Bolitho added 11 points, four assists and three rebounds. Howell and Gutierrez chipped in with nine and eight points, respectively.