Titans can’t quite catch up to Hotchkiss
PEACH VALLEY – The Titans girls basketball team gave Hotchkiss a run for its money on Friday night in the Class 3A Western Slope League opener, but ran out of gas on an almost-comeback, falling 60-46.Despite a slow start and a rough finish, Coal Ridge made things interesting in the middle.The Titans got down 11-4 after the first quarter, and although it took a while for the offense to get going, once it did it was hard for Hotchkiss to stop.”Well our defense really got going,” said Coal Ridge head coach Rick Schmitz. “We got a couple of steals and some turnovers and got some easy baskets. That’s when we play our best. … It got us back in the game.”After all four of Coal Ridge’s points came from the free throw line in the first, Matraisa Beecraft drained a 3-pointer to open the second. The Titans kept rolling – Coal Ridge scored 20 more points in the second quarter, with Titans attacking the basket and converting 10 free throws.”We do that pretty well. We gotta go to the basket,” Schmitz said of the Titans’ inside play. “We are not a perimeter, jump shooting team right now, so we have to continue it.”After a back-and-forth third quarter, with Hotchkiss’ lead ranging from three to seven points, a Kaitlin Moeller layup cut the lead to 43-40 at the 7:30 mark in the fourth quarter. That was as close as the Titans would get, however.A 15-2 Hotchkiss run over the next four and a half minutes put Coal Ridge down 53-42, and the advantage was too big to bounce back from. In the final two minutes, Hotchkiss ran a stall offense to run out the remainder of the clock.The Titans were very effective when getting the ball down to Moeller or Tori Verdieck in the key, or when Morgan Jessup would drive to the hole – oftentimes getting fouled, which also worked as she was four of five from the line.Jessup led the Titans with 12 points, while Moeller was right behind her with 11. Coal Ridge finished the night going 20-of-30 from the free throw line, with freshman Chasity Gonzales sinking all six of her attempts.Despite the loss, Schmitz saw a good effort from his team.”We learned a lot of things about ourselves, we are sticking together as a team and we’ll just keep moving forward,” he said.With the loss, the Titans dropped to 4-2 overall and 0-1 in league. Hotchkiss, on the other hand, gained a 1-0 record in league.”They are tough. They are a fun team, they were fun to coach against,” Schmitz said of Hotchkiss. “They play the way I want us to play, they play tough full-court pressure, but we did too at times. We are getting there.”
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