It’s on to the Sweet 16 for Glenwood Lady Demons after 42-29 win over Lewis-Palmer
Post Independent correspondent
The Glenwood Springs girls’ basketball team has made a late-season habit of starting out games at a snail’s pace and then putting on second half surges with the swiftness of a thoroughbred coming down the home stretch.
Friday night at the Chavez-Spencer Gymnasium, the Demons held true to their script by taking a scant 15-8 lead at intermission, and then shifting into high gear in the final 16 minutes to take a 42-29 win over the Lewis-Palmer Rangers in the second round of the state 4A basketball tournament.
“We had our typical slow start tonight,” Demons senior guard Natalya Taylor, who led her team in scoring with 13 points, said. “But we always get some small things to go our way on the offensive and defensive end to give us the spark that we need.”
After a sluggish first quarter by both teams, in which Glenwood held a 6-3 advantage, junior post Graci Dietrich helped to keep the Demons’ head above water by hitting a free throw and canning two midrange jump shots. Taylor then scored on a drive along the baseline as both teams headed to the locker room searching for their offense.
“We knew our offense would come around. We always work hard, and everything we do is for each other,” Dietrich said.
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Right on cue, Taylor promptly hit a 3-pointer from the top of the circle to start the third period for Glenwood. Taylor followed that with an on-target jumper to push Glenwood’s lead to 20-10 with 5:03 left in the quarter.
Facing a big, physical, and at times overly aggressive Ranger front line, the Demons’ Dietrich, Kate Shanahan, Qwynn Massie and Michelle Marshall did a workman-like job on the boards to limit Lewis-Palmer’s offensive attempts on most possessions.
“I like it when teams get physical,” Marshall said. “I just keep my focus and keep a good attitude. It seems to just make them angrier.”
With the Demons finding their rhythm offensively, Massie buried a turnaround jump shot in the paint and junior guard Maddie Moser swished a 3-pointer. Marshall then snuck inside for a layup to put the Demons up 27-15 with one quarter left to play.
Following some successful trips to the foul line and two scores by L-P senior guard Ally DeLange, the Rangers had crept to within 27-21, forcing Glenwood head coach Rhonda Moser to use a timeout to gather her team.
With renewed focus, the Demons went on a mini 6-0 run following the talk with their coach. Dietrich dropped in two free throws and Marshall scored on a long assist from senior guard Hadley Yellico. Taylor then hit from the baseline on an off-balance jumper to put the Demons up 33-21.
Demons sophomore guard Kenzie Winder and Dietrich tied the ribbon on the Glenwood playoff win with fourth quarter baskets, as the Rangers could not mount a final charge at the opportunistic Demons.
Taylor’s 13 points were tops for Glenwood. Dietrich, Marshall and Winder had nine, eight and seven points, respectively, for the Demons.
Glenwood (21-3) now moves on to Tuesday’s state round of 16 where the Demons will travel to face the No. 5 seeded Erie Tigers, who were 79-45 winners over Longmont on Friday night.
“We will have to put a full game together on Tuesday,” coach Moser said. “We’ll have to shoot the ball better, but I know these girls will stay focused and be prepared for what’s ahead of us.”
In other girls 4A state playoff action Friday night, No. 11 Sierra ended the season of the No. 43 Rifle Lady Bears on the road by a final score of 65-33.
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The teams aren’t vying to one up the other in the rankings or looking to get a leg up in the league standings this fall, but that will hardly make the stakes any less meaningful for Basalt and Glenwood Springs high schools when they meet on the football field Friday night.