Late-game layup lifts Demons in Steamboat
It wasn’t much of a lane, Glenwood Springs High School sophomore AJ Crowley said. It proved, enough, however.
Crowley fielded a pass in the waning moments of Saturday’s game in Steamboat Springs then slipped through the Sailors’ quickly tightening defense to lay the ball in with 2.4 seconds remaining, giving his team a big road win.
The Demons won, 42-40.
“I’ve had lots of driveway practice for that shot,” Crowley said. “It was a pretty skinny lane and I had to work around, but it worked out.”
Crowley’s slick move was the last in a back-and-forth fourth quarter full of big-time shots.
Glenwood had a five-point lead with midway through the quarter, but Steamboat’s Ethan Riniker drained a 3-point shot, then teammate Jonathan Rinck hit a mid-range jumper to tie things at 40.
Both teams had near misses in the final two minutes, including a pair of free throws for Steamboat. Nothing could separate the two teams until Crowley’s shot, however.
“It’s a huge win,” Glenwood coach Cory Hitchcock said. “To see our guys overcome the physical play and grow in this game, it’s a big win because it shows we can compete with a physical team.”
Crowley finished with eight points for Glenwood, as did Jake Townsley. Rinck had 16 for Steamboat to lead all scorers.
Rinck had a strong game up and down the court and repeatedly found baskets his team needed by spinning and cutting, then pulling up from about 10 feet out. He desperately wanted one more opportunity however, and thought he should have had one as time expired. Steamboat ran a desperation in bounds play following Crowley’s basket and, trying to run off a pick, Rinck tripped over his defender and hit the floor.
The Steamboat stands and Rinck himself erupted in frustration when no foul call came as the game ended.
“We didn’t lose the game on that play,” Steamboat coach Mike Vandahl said. “There’s no easy way to swallow a game like that, but you have to keep your head up.”
The win lifts Glenwood to an 11-9 record and a 9-5 league mark. Steamboat slipped to 10-10 and 7-7.
It’s now on to the district tournament for both teams. Play there begins Thursday in Grand Junction.
Glenwood girls rise up, knock down Sailors
Glenwood Springs High School coach Rhonda Moser said Saturday was a statement from her team.
The Demons, who’d won just three games heading into Saturday, stood up to Steamboat Springs and won decisively on the road, 55-36.
“All season we just continued to get better, just kept working on fundamentals and got better,” Moser said. “We just knew we had to keep building.”
It all paid off in a big win against the Sailors.
The Demons controlled the game throughout, leading by eight after the first quarter and 14 at half. Sophomore Tatum Peterson was a wrecking ball, leading all scorers with 21 points, 13 in the first half.
“She had a great night,” Moser said. “She wanted her seniors to go out with a win. The last few games we haven’t seen as much fire, but she had fire tonight.”
Steamboat lost one of its leading scorers in the first quarter when Annie Osbourn left with a knee injury. She didn’t return and the team looked listless up until halftime.
Despite the early deficit, Steamboat did manage to inject some excitement into the second half. Ellie Crouch scored six points and Raya Duryea hit a 3-point shot. That helped spark the team to close within five points at one point.
Glenwood soon reversed any momentum the Sailors had built up. The Sailors didn’t score a basket until the final minute of the fourth quarter and were out scored in the period 15-8.
“That little stretch for us cost us our legs,” Spitellie said. “It was rough. We didn’t play well.”
The game ended Glenwood’s season. Steamboat will advance to play next week at districts in Grand Junction. It’s schedule and opponent won’t be official until a district bracket is released Tuesday.
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