Glenwood sweeps Faith Christian to open Demon Invitational
With senior guard Maddie Bolitho dishing out assists in great numbers to fellow Demons, and the entire Glenwood girls basketball team using a stifling full-court press to keep Faith Christian off balance, the result was a never-in-doubt 49-31 win for the home team in the opening game of the Demon Invitational Basketball Tournament at Glenwood High School on Thursday night.
“We play well when we play good defense,” said Glenwood Head Coach Rhonda Moser. “The girls executed well. It was a balanced win.”
Senior post player Tatum Peterson got the lopsided first half scoring going for Glenwood when she took a feed from Bolitho and touched the ball softly off the glass for a 2-0 lead at the 6:06 juncture of the first quarter. Another senior, Dani DeCrow got into the act for the Demons with a jumper from the right wing as Glenwood’s pressure was forcing Faith Christian into constant miscues. Ximena Gutierrez dropped in a couple of baskets for Glenwood and when Peterson slipped a nifty underhand assist to Saylor Warren, the Demons completed a picture-perfect quarter leading 12-0.
Sophomore Ashley Finch ended the scoring dry spell for Faith when she scored on a spinning move under the basket early in the second quarter to make it 12-2. Glenwood’s lead would swell to 20-2 soon after though, as DeCrow would score on a running banker along the baseline to make things look even more promising for the Demons entering the halftime break.
Sophomore Natalya Taylor, playing with foul trouble for most of the night, promptly hit a 3-pointer to get the third quarter started. Warren scored from the inside off a pass from Bolitho, and Peterson garnered a couple of inside hoops as the Demons shared the ball nicely and raced away to a 36-17 lead at the end of the third quarter.
“These girls are super unselfish. They play hard and they play together. They have set a goal to win the Demon Invitational,” Moser said.
Glenwood’s reserves took to the court at the 6:00 mark of the final stanza, as the starters got a well-deserved rest to prepare for the weekend action to come.
Peterson was the top scorer for the Demons with 13 points. Warren, Taylor, and Gutierrez each chipped in with 7 points. Warren also contributed 10 rebounds, with Bolitho dishing out 7 assists.
The Glenwood girls (2-2) will be at home again on Friday night in the second round of the Demon Invitational as they will take on the Canon City Tigers at 6:30 p.m.
GLENWOOD SPRINGS 58, FAITH CHRISTIAN 56
Senior guard Aaron Smith took an inbounds feed from fellow senior A.J Crowley and drove down the left side of the lane for the game winning layup as time expired, giving the Glenwood Demons a thrilling 58-56 come from behind victory over the Faith Christian Eagles in opening round action of the Demon Invitational.
The Demons were forced to play catch up for most of the evening as Faith Christian guard Benjamin Hawkins, who led all scorers on the night with 23 points, fueled the Eagles to leads at the end of each of the first three quarters of play. The Demons trailed at one point 41-29 with just over 5 minutes to play in the third quarter, and could find no answer for stopping Hawkins.
“Our defense just wasn’t very good early on,” said Glenwood Head Coach Cory Hitchcock. “We just told the boys to keep chipping away, value the basketball, and we’ll be fine.”
The Demons looked to be close to fine as the game opened up. Like a severed power line, Glenwood came out of the blocks buzzing with energy as Kevin Ayon, Crowley, and Smith all drained 3-pointers to stake the home team to a quick 9-4 advantage. But Faith put a stop to the Demon momentum in a hurry, as baskets by Hawkins, Jonah Gardner, and Josh Long gave the Eagles a lead they would not relinquish until the very end of the contest.
After valiantly clawing their way back from the 12 point third quarter deficit, it looked like Glenwood had finally run out of gas and mojo when Gardner hit a driving 2-pointer with 2:13 showing on the clock, giving the Eagles a 54-49 lead.
Junior Chano Gonzalez calmly sank a couple big free throws, and following another Faith bucket, Glenwood’s Angel Garcia hit a straight-on 3-pointer and Smith swished two free throws to tie things up at 56. Smith’s free throws were set up by a key defensive blocked shot by the Demons Holden Kleager at the Faith end of the court.
With just over 20 seconds showing on the clock and every fan in the Chavez-Spencer Gymnasium on the edge of their seat, Faith tried to salt the clock down and go for one shot. The strategy misfired, as the Eagles had trouble with Glenwood’s pressure ball defense, and were called for an over-and-back violation. Hitchcock called timeout and set up the play for Smith that would send the Demons to 3-1 on the young season.
“We got some key stops there at the end, and the boys executed the final play to perfection. I’m so proud of these guys. That was a good team we just beat,” said Hitchcock.
Glenwood’s balanced scoring sheet was as follows: Smith 14 points, Garcia 10 points, Luke Gair 9 points, Kleager and Gonzalez with 8 points each, and Crowley with 7 points.
Hawkins topped Faith, who is ranked No. 2 in the state’s 3A classification, with 23 points on the night.
The Demons swing back into action on Friday night at home against Canon City at 8 p.m.
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Montrose will pose a tough challenge for the Demons to win their home tournament. “They’re a team that every year has a well-disciplined program that executes, plays hard and is well-coached,” Glenwood coach Fred Heisel said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.” Game time is 2:30 p.m. at Spencer-Chavez Gymnasium at GSHS.