Early run spurs Demons to semis
Top-seeded Glenwood Springs showed that it had plenty to prove. Five days after its perfect regular season was spoiled in a battle of unbeatens against Mesa Ridge, the Demons turned their focus to 4A WSL/SWL District Tournament play. Sharp right from the opening tip, the Western Slope League regular season champs scored the game’s opening 11 points en route to an emphatic 74-43 win over Durango.
Another balanced scoring effort keyed the success. Delaney Gaddis paced the way with 27 points, 13 coming in the first half, including six in a 20-second stretch midway through the first quarter. Meanwhile, plenty of support bolstered the Demons’ arsenal. Jordan DeCrow and Madi Spence joined Gaddis in double figures by the half to establish a 44-22 cushion at the intermission.
Glenwood head coach Jacky Gaddis was pleased with the early intensity, especially after the tough loss to the state’s second-ranked team. “I was worried that we had left too much out on the floor against Mesa Ridge, but we didn’t.” A fluid start to the game should be enough to calm the nerves. DeCrow canned a triple to begin the game, and the Demons’ bench ignited. Spence added her own pair of field goals to fuel the early game flurry.
About her team’s strong start, Gaddis added, “When our team does well on defense, it really reflects on our offense.”
In a battle of Demons, Glenwood was the better team throughout the night. They seldom gave Durango a chance to run their offense with hands in every passing lane that sparked Glenwood’s lethal transition game. Durango failed to score until 4:40 remained in the opening quarter, and Glenwood never gave the 8th seed a foothold back in the contest.
“These girls just continue to find ways to surprise me,” added Gaddis, referring to the sterling first half. “They find a way to stay up — sometimes they’re the ones pumping me up.”
Spence ended the evening with 14 points, while DeCrow added 13. Hailey Armstrong contributed 10 to the winning cause. Emily McCue paced Durango with 14 points.
Armstrong’s strong night drew special notice from the head coach. “She’s really starting to find her flow in this part of the season.”
As for their goals for the District Tournament, Gaddis added, “We know we have to take it one game at a time. It started with the league title, and that’s brought us here.”
They will look to take their next step on Friday night. Glenwood meets No. 5 seed Rifle for the third time this year, this time with a date in the title game on the line. The Demons and Bears will square off at CMU’s Brownson Arena at 6 p.m.
Rifle 52, Eagle Valley 33
PALISADE — Chante Church scored a game-high 22 points to pace the Bears (10-9 overall), who limited the Devils (12-9) to just 15 first-half points and clinched a state tournament berth with the victory.
Church also hit four 3-pointers for the Bears, who held a 27-15 halftime lead. Carsyn Copeland added 15 points for Rifle.
“The past two weeks capping off with the Glenwood game [on Feb. 14], there’s been a different focus and intensity level for this team,” first-year Rifle coach Kristy Wallner said. “That’s been a great thing to see.”
Taylor Martin scored eight points to pace the Devils, who play Durango in a tournament elimination game today at Palisade High School.
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