Friday hoops: League-leading Steamboat boys sail past Glenwood; girls win to improve in league standings
Special to the Post Independent
The top-ranked Steamboat Sailors came into the Chavez-Spencer Gymnasium in Glenwood Springs on Friday night leading the 4A Western Slope League with an undefeated record. They left the same way, easing past the scrappy Demons, 61-52.
With a decided size advantage at almost every position on the court, especially underneath the basket, the Sailors used the 6-foot-8 frame of senior post Eric Pollert to put Glenwood at a 19-5 disadvantage at the end of the first period.
Pollert easily grabbed errant Steamboat shots and scored uncontested as the Demons, trying to counter with what amounted to a five guard lineup, could only look skyward at the much taller Sailors.
When Glenwood tried to crowd Pollert and 6-foot-5 front-court mate Jakob Kreissig, Steamboat responded to the sagging defense with 3-pointers from guards Cade Gedeon, Kellen Adams, and Granger Rowan.
The Demons weren’t about to concede anything on their home court to the rival Sailors. Igniting a Glenwood scoring surge, senior Anthony Avilles hit three long 3-pointers in the second quarter to give Glenwood some life. With help from 9 points by junior guard Reid Swanson, Glenwood cut the Sailor lead to a more manageable 33-21 at the half.
Glenwood made things even more interesting in the third period by outscoring Steamboat 16-11 and pulling to within seven points of the Sailors on two separate occasions at 36-29 and 42-35. Aiden Nieslanik, Swanson, and Avilles all swished 3-pointers and Blake Nieslanik scored near the basket as the Demons kept throwing jabs at the league leaders.
With Glenwood controlling Pollert and the Steamboat inside game, overcoming the 44-37 deficit entering the final quarter seemed to be a mission possible. But it was an unlikely Sailor villain who spoiled the evening and the upset hopes of the Demons.
Steamboat senior guard Carter Reistad scored on a driving layup down the middle for the Sailors, and then hit a couple of short bankers on baseline drives. Suddenly, it was 50-37 in favor of the visitors.
Controlling the boards and limiting Glenwood to just one attempt at the basket on each offensive possession, the Sailors, who are ranked No. 1 in the state’s 4A RPI power rankings, had delivered a knockout punch that Glenwood couldn’t recover from.
“Steamboat is big, fast and strong,” said Glenwood coach Fred Heisel. “But I’m proud of my guys. There just isn’t any quit in them.”
Glenwood (3-5 overall, 2-4 WSL) got 14 points from Avilles, 12 points from Swanson, 9 points from Aiden Nieslanik, 8 points from Omar Bonilla, and 7 points from Blake Nieslanik.
Girls: Glenwood 48, Steamboat Springs 20
The Glenwood Lady Demons stayed in the hunt for the Western Slope League title with a 48-20 home win on Friday night.
“Tonight was a great team win,” said Demon coach Rhonda Moser. “We were a little tired after last night’s game against Battle Mountain, but everyone worked together well and we got the job done.”
Glenwood (5-3 overall, 5-1 WSL) was led in scoring by Kenzie Winder with 10 points and Miah Suarez with 7 points.
The Demons will face a key WSL road test next Tuesday at Palisade.
In other weekend hoops action
Coal Ridge 45, DSST: Byers 37
Senior Karsen DuBois paced the Titans with 16 points Friday night on the road at DSST: Byers, en route to the nonleague win.
Coal Ridge held the host team to single-digit scoring for each of the first three quarters, before a Falcon run in the fourth came up short.
Coal Ridge 72, Basalt 57
In a key 3A Western Slope League matchup Saturday, the Titans jumped out to a commanding 37-24 halftime lead and kept the pressure on through the final 16 minutes of play to secure the home win over the Longhorns.
Senior Andrew Herrera had 20 points for the victors, while senior Daniel Sanchez chipped in 13 and Dubois had 10.
Coal Ridge moves to 8-1 overall and 4-0 in league play, and holds the state 3A No. 5 RPI power ranking heading into a home contest with league foe Delta on Tuesday.
Gunnison 66, Roaring Fork 54
Down 33-21 at the half on the road Saturday at Gunnison, the Roaring Fork Rams of Carbondale closed the gap to 4 points early in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t overcome the host Cowboys.
It was the second league loss in a row for the Rams, who fall to 3-5 overall and 2-2 in 3A WSL play. Roaring Fork faces rival Basalt at home Tuesday night.
Rifle 54, Battle Mountain 37
Down by one, 22-21, at the half, the Bears held the visiting Battle Mountain Huskies to single-digit scoring in each of the final two quarters to grab a 4A Western Slope League win on Saturday.
Rifle dropped a road game Thursday to Palisade, 42-26, and now stands at 3-5 overall and 2-4 in league play. The Bears travel to play Eagle Valley on Thursday.
Aspen 68, Grand Valley 37
Aspen controlled from the opening tip Saturday in Parachute to earn a key 3A WSL win over Grand Valley. The Cardinals fall to 1-8 overall and 0-4 in league. Next up: Roaring Fork at home for a nonleague game.
Rifle 55, Battle Mountain 53
A double-overtime contest Saturday afternoon in Rifle saw the host Bears prevail in a key 4A Western Slope League contest.
The Huskies built a 25-13 lead at the half, before Rifle came storming back in the second half of play, outscoring Battle Mountain by the same margin to send it into extra minutes.
After staying deadlocked through the first 5 minutes of OT, the Bears had the final answer to take the win and improve to 6-1 in league play following a 37-26 loss at Palisade on Thursday (6-3 overall) to stay atop the WSL standings.
Rifle now faces three straight league games on the road, at Eagle Valley Thursday, Battle Mountain Saturday and Glenwood Springs March 2.
Coal Ridge 64, DSST: Byers 23
The Lady Titans raced to a 17-1 first quarter lead and never looked back against the host team Friday night for a nonleague win.
Senior Taylor Wiescamp had 18 points on the night, junior Peyton Garrison had 14 and sophomore Aceleigh Porter had 11.
Coal Ridge 53, Basalt 25
The Titans followed the Friday win with another one at home Saturday over 3A league foe Basalt.
Coal Ridge held the Longhorns to single digits in the first, third and fourth quarters to take and maintain command of the game.
The Titans (7-2, 1-2) host league-leading Delta in a huge contest on Tuesday that could determine the WSL.
Roaring Fork 53, Gunnison 18
The Rams (4-5, 2-3) picked up a key win on the road at Gunnison Saturday to improve in the 3A Western Slope League race. Individual stats were not reported to Maxpreps.com.
Next up for Roaring Fork is a home contest against Basalt on Tuesday.
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Rifle High School wrestling won its matchup with Glenwood Springs Tuesday at the Glenwood triangular, while the Palisade Bulldogs took down both local teams.