Shorthanded Demons cruise past Steamboat
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Being down doesn’t necessarily mean the Glenwood Springs High School boys basketball team has been out. The Demons proved that on Saturday.
Peter Steckler finished with a game-high 12 points to go with an 11-point performance off the bench for Evrett Marr, and the shorthanded Demons rallied to victory for the second day in a row, this one a 55-43 Class 4A Western Slope League triumph over Steamboat Springs at Spencer-Chavez Gymnasium.
“Our guys are confident knowing now that if one or two guys are down, other guys have to step up and take on that responsibility. We did that,” Glenwood coach Cory Hitchchcock said. “So I think as a team we’re confident, and as a coach I’m more confident in certain individuals because of what they’ve shown me the last two nights.”
The Demons (12-3 overall, 7-2 4A WSL) showed plenty of confidence despite the adversity they faced, beating league opponents Summit, Eagle Valley and Steamboat Springs in a span of three days. They also pulled off comeback victories on Friday and Saturday, rallying from 12 down to beat Eagle Valley in Gypsum and from 10 down against the Sailors (9-4, 4-3).
To add to that, the Demons were missing two starters. Sophomore Cameron Horning wasn’t even at the gym on Saturday due to illness, and senior Brian Burbidge missed Saturday’s game after suffering a concussion earlier this week. But that didn’t hold back the Demons, who used a big third-quarter run to cruise ahead of the Sailors for good.
“We’re just sharing the ball and making the extra pass when we need to right now, playing well as a team,” said Steckler, whose three fourth-quarter 3-pointers were part of the run that put the Demons ahead to stay. “Credit goes all the way around to the whole team, and I was lucky enough to get some good looks at the basket to knock some shots down.”
Matthew Lanning also scored a game-high 12 points to pace the Sailors, but the Steamboat junior was the only member of his team to hit double figures in scoring. Two of his jumpers capped a 14-0 Steamboat run that gave the Sailors a 25-16 lead late in the second quarter, with a jumper and a foul shot from Zach Dunklin pushing the lead over Glenwood to 30-20 with 37.7 seconds left before halftime.
That’s when Glenwood clamped down defensively, not allowing a Steamboat bucket until a fast-break layup from 6-foot-9 Garret Bye with 1:30 left in the third quarter. But by then, the Demons had reeled off 14 unanswered points of their own, with a pair of foul shots from Jared Gambrel capping the run for a 34-30 Glenwood lead with 1:41 on the clock.
Steckler stepped up big from there, following a layup from Will Gray by scoring the next nine Glenwood points — all on 3s — to push the Demons’ lead to 45-35 with 4:59 remaining. The Sailors couldn’t come any closer than six points the rest of the way.
“We did this as a team, and that’s what these boys have got to understand,” Hitchcock said. “Brian and Cam, we rely on them a lot. But I told them tonight that we had to play as a team. As long as we play as a team, I think we can hang with anybody.”
Glenwood Springs 28, Steamboat Springs 20
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — The Glenwood girls’ game against Steamboat Springs wasn’t the prettiest thing in the world. Demons coach Jacky Gaddis realizes that, but cares more about the end result.
“Defensively we really do a great job,” the second-year Glenwood coach said. “I know when you look at standings and compare yourself to other teams, it always feels good to score a lot of points. But really, it’s more about that it gets done and not how. And guess what? We’re 14-0 now.”
Madi Spence finished with a game-high 10 points to pace the fourth-ranked Demons (14-0 overall, 9-0 Class 4A Western Slope League play), who held an opponent to under 30 points for the sixth time this season. The Demons were close to matching the season-low 17 points they allowed against Summit in December near the end of the fourth quarter, but a foul shot from Maddie Robertson with 51.2 seconds remaining helped the Sailors (7-6, 2-5) surpass that mark.
Steamboat, which was led in scoring by Jenna Miller’s six points, has had trouble scoring against Garfield County teams. The Sailors lost to Rifle, 35-18, this past Tuesday. Against the Demons in the “Preps to Pros” game at the Pepsi Center in Denver on Dec. 20, they were shut out by Glenwood in the third quarter of a 57-25 loss.
Glenwood, however, wasn’t able to get much offense going either. The Demons only led 17-7 at the end of the first half, and they needed a 10-0 run — sparked by a pair of buckets from Spence — to gain that advantage.
“I think we’re tired,” Gaddis said. “Playing these three games in three days took a lot out of us I think, and I think you could tell by the way we played.”
Both the Glenwood boys and girls have off until Thursday when they renew the county’s oldest continuous rivalry at Rifle. Start times are 6 p.m. for the girls game and 7:30 p.m. for the boys.
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Fans, players and coaches on both sides of Stubler Memorial Field seemed to know it would come down just the way it did, regardless of who had the ball at the end.