Glenwood cruises to 25-point win over Canon City
One night after knocking off No. 2 Faith Christian on an Aaron Smith buzzer-beating layup off of an in-bounds play, the Glenwood Springs Demons’ boys basketball team made sure Friday night’s result wasn’t as nail-biting against the visiting Canon City Tigers inside Chavez-Spencer Gymnasium on Day 2 of the Demon Invitational.
The red-hot Demons raced out to a 23-6 first quarter lead before rolling to an eventual 74-49 win, setting up a shot this afternoon at winning the program’s first Demon Invitational since 2013.
Against the Tigers, Glenwood fired on all cylinders, getting any shot they wanted offensively through great ball movement and off-ball work, while playing physical, attacking defense against an overwhelmed Tiger offense. In the first quarter, senior guards AJ Crowley and Smith caught fire as Crowley poured in 11 first-quarter points — outscoring the Tigers by himself in the first eight minutes, while Smith added 5 points in the opening frame, pacing the Demon attack to a big 23-6 lead.
“I thought our offensive start was good, but I was more pleased with our defensive start,” Glenwood head coach Cory Hitchcock said following the 25-point win. “Honestly, we came out solid defensively. We had good rotations and got some easy transition buckets. That created a lot of momentum and positive energy on the offensive end. On offense, I was really pleased that we were making the extra pass and finding the open guy, not settling for contested shots. When we play like that, we shoot at a high percentage because it’s just like shooting at practice. I thought they did a good job of really playing within our team concept and playing together; that showed tonight.”
Following the hot start to the game, Glenwood kept its foot on the gas in the second quarter, taking a 35-10 lead on a 12-4 run as Smith splashed home two 3-pointers, sank two free throws and found senior center Holden Kleager in the paint for two tough buckets. Senior forward Gabe Suarez came off the bench to sink two 3-pointers and hit a tough shot in the paint, helping the Demons cruise into half with an impressive 47-16 lead, putting the game largely out of reach.
“We talked about it with the boys about the defense that we’re the type of team that likes to get out and run, so we have to create that energy at the defensive end,” Hitchcock said. “It’s a brand the kids love to play; we talked about it in our pregame that we needed to bring it defensively, get some turnovers and jump on them early. I think we did that tonight and you saw that with our offensive production.”
In the second half, Glenwood took its foot off the gas at both ends, allowing Canon City to get going offensively. But following a timeout by Hitchcock, the Demons got back on track at both ends, clamping down on the Tiger attack to pull away for good and allowing some younger bench players to get into the game.
“I don’t want to say they got comfortable, because I told the guys they’d only be getting a couple of minutes to let the JV guys get in, but I don’t think our foot stayed on the pedal like it should have,” Hitchcock said. “Overall, I was really pleased with the effort and execution at both ends of the floor, but our defense really allowed us to force some turnovers and really jump on them early tonight.”
On the night, the closest Canon City came to Glenwood was 12-6 in the first quarter, aside from tip-off. Against the Tigers, Glenwood hit seven 3-pointers — three of which came from Smith’s shooting stroke.
Smith remains hot to start his final season at Glenwood, pouring in 15 points in limited action, while Crowley added 11 points — all of which came in the first quarter. Suarez chipped in 12 points, while junior guard Angel Garcia added six points in the win over the Tigers.
Sitting at 2-0 on its home floor, Glenwood will match up with the Alamosa Moose at 2:30 p.m. this afternoon in search of the program’s first Demon Invitational championship since 2013, as well as the 100th career win for Hitchcock as the head coach of the boys basketball program.
GLENWOOD SPRINGS 37, CANON CITY 28
Swarming defense and a dominant performance on the glass Friday night inside Chavez-Spencer Gymnasium at Glenwood Springs High School helped the Demon girls’ basketball team hang on for a big 37-28 win over the Canon City Tigers on Day 2 of the Demon Invitational.
As the defense forced a number of Canon City turnovers and a host of Glenwood forwards cleaned up the class at both ends of the floor (eight offensive rebounds, 18 total rebounds) Friday night, the young Demons were able to grind out a tough nine-point win on their home floor, led by the terrific senior inside-outside duo of center Tatum Peterson and point guard Maddie Bolitho.
The senior duo combined for 23 points on the night, providing some semblance of balance for a Glenwood offense that struggled to hit shots on a consistent basis.
“With the seniors, Tatum and Maddie were working together well in the first half,” Glenwood third-year head coach Rhonda Moser said following the big win over Canon City. “But then in the second half Ellie [Moser] came out and hit a three and then Maddie hit a three, and those were both critical shots. We kept saying that even though they’re not falling you have to keep shooting; something’s going to fall. And we really loved the composure the girls showed there at the end in a tough spot. It wasn’t pretty, but it’s a W and we’ll take it.
After racing out to a 6-0 lead early in the first quarter behind two buckets from Peterson and a floater in the lane from senior forward Dani DeCrow off of a crisp pass from Peterson, it appeared as though the Demons were going to roll right past the Tigers. That certainly wasn’t the case following the fast start as the Demons’ scoring touch dried up, allowing the Tigers to battle back to a 6-4 deficit after one quarter of play.
Peterson caught fire to start the second quarter, pouring in two straight buckets to make it 10-4 Glenwood, before a steal and layup from sophomore guard Natalya Taylor stretched the Demons’ lead to 12-4, forcing a quick Canon City timeout. Following the quick stoppage, the Tigers embarked on a quick 6-0 run fueled by a stretch of 4-for-6 from the free throw line to pull to within two points at 12-10. A late putback by senior forward Saylor Warren off of an offensive rebound sent the Demons into the locker room with a 14-10 lead.
Coming out of the half, Glenwood jumped out to an 18-10 lead as Peterson and Bolitho hit tough shots in the paint, but the Tigers quickly found their footing offensively, embarking on a 16-8 run to tie the game up at 26-all heading into the final quarter of play.
But much like the first half, Glenwood clamped down defensively while also hitting the glass hard in the final quarter of play to pull away for the 37-28 win.
“We told them that when the shots don’t fall, you have to get back and play defense,” Moser said. “Defense becomes even more important when you’re missing shots, so they just got back and got into a bit of a defensive run, and they didn’t turn over the ball often on top of missing shots.”
In the final quarter of play, Bolitho connected on a four-point play, drilling a 3-pointer and drawing the foul, which allowed the Demons to pull away for good for their fourth win of the season.
On the night, Peterson led the way with 12 points, while Bolitho added 11 points, connecting on two triples.
DeCrow added four points, while Taylor and senior guard Ellie Moser added three points each.
Glenwood improves to 3-2 on the season. The Demons look to win the Demon Invitational at 1 p.m. this afternoon against the Alamosa Moose.
“We need to come out with more fire [if we want to beat Alamosa],” Moser said. “We had a big win last night [Thursday] and then we came out flat tonight. We told the girls to get some rest and get ready to come back tomorrow ready to get after it.”
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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.