PALISADE/GRAND JUNCTION (2/20/14) — Three local teams won a place in the 4A state tournament by winning their first-round games in the Western Slope League District Tournament, held at Colorado Mesa University and Palisade High School.
The number-one seed Glenwood Lady Demons scored a season-high 74 points in dismantling 8th-seeded Durango. The Rifle Lady Bears gained sweet revenge for a late-season overtime loss by dispatching Eagle Valley, setting up a semi-final showdown between the rivals Friday at 6 p.m. at CMU.
The Rifle boys, seeded number-one, struggled to put away 8th-seeded Cortez, but rode Trent Brown’s free throw shooting to win by 6 and will face Palisade in the semi-finals at 7:30 Friday at CMU. The 3rd-seeded Glenwood boys couldn’t hold a 6-point third-quarter lead, eventually losing by five to 6th seed Montrose, and will have to defeat Delta Friday at 7:30 at Palisade High School to advance to the state tournament.
RIFLE GIRLS 52, EAGLE VALLEY 33 @ PALISADE
Megan Asmussen’s 3-pointer in overtime gave Eagle Valley the 4th seed over Rifle going into districts, but there were no such heroics in the Lady Bears’ dominant first-round win. Rifle’s defense held the Devils to single digits in each of the first three quarters as the Bears posted a 27-16 halftime lead, and continued to build on it the rest of the way to cruise to a 52-33 win.
Chante Church received able support from her teammates, and though she scored 10 in the third quarter and 22 for the game, didn’t have to carry the Bears offensively. Carsyn Copeland recorded a double-double with 15 points and 14 rebounds. Emily Neuroth scored 8 with 6 boards, and Kailee Cordova added 7 points as the Bears (10-9) advanced to the district semi-final game against Glenwood, Friday at CMU.
GLENWOOD GIRLS 74, DURANGO 43 @ CMU
The Durango Demons could be excused for thinking they’d stumbled into the 5A Southwest League playoffs, where they’d compiled a 7-11 record this year, instead of dropping down to 4A after being steamrolled by Glenwood Springs (20-1) Thursday at CMU.
Glenwood lost for the first time this season in their final regular-season game with undefeated Mesa Ridge, and came back with a vengeance in their first-round match-up with their Demon counterparts, scoring the first 11 points in the opening quarter.
Delaney Gaddis, who scored 31 in the loss to the Grizzlies, kept her hot hand scoring 8 of the Demons’ 24 first-quarter points. But Jordan DeCrow and Madi Spence rebounded from sub-par scoring games against Mesa Ridge, each scoring 6 in the first period, with Hailey Armstrong adding 4 points.
Meanwhile, Durango made 5 of 15 shots and missed all 4 of its 3-point attempts. The SWL Demons came in with better than a 50 percent success rate from beyond the arc, but Glenwood’s man-to-man defense rarely allowed them an open look.
Glenwood posted another 20 point quarter to lead 44-22 at halftime, making 64 percent of their first-half shots. The Demons throttled back a bit with a 13-6 third period, and despite going to the bench down the stretch, still outscored Durango 17-15 in the final frame.
Gaddis led the onslaught with 27 points, adding 7 assists and 5 steals. Spence had 14 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 assists. DeCrow finished with 13, and Armstrong tallied 10 points to go with 8 rebounds. Bella Diaz contributed 7 rebounds to the Demons’ decisive 38-21 advantage under the glass. DeCrow and Gaddis each made 2-of-3 three-pointers to discourage Durango’s zone defense, and to top off the performance, Glenwood, which had been struggling from the free throw line, made 6-of-8 there.
Glenwood, which edged Rifle 45-37 the last time the teams met, will play the Lady Bears Friday to see who advances to Saturday’s district championship.
RIFLE BOYS 42, CORTEZ 36 @ CMU
Montezuma-Cortez, which played in the 5A SWL this season, and lost 13 of 19 games, received the last seed in the 4A district tournament, but never let number-one Rifle (16-3) pull away. The Panthers fought back from an 8-point deficit early in the third quarter to tie the score at 28 going to the final frame.
A 3-point play by Clinton Farr quickly pushed the Bear lead to five, and a drive to the hoop by Austin Boone had Rifle up 38-32 with 3 minutes to go. A couple of Rifle turnovers led to layups by Jaron Carver, shaving the lead to two points with 1:35 remaining. Cortez wouldn’t score again and Trent Brown made 3-of-4 free throws (9-of-10 for the game) to hold off the Panthers.
Brown led the Bears with 17 points and also grabbed 8 rebounds. Tanner Quick, who was held to one point in the second half, nevertheless pulled down 15 boards for the game and had a resounding block in the final quarter, which set the defensive tone down the stretch. Rifle outrebounded Cortez, 33-22 and limited the Panthers to just 2-of-12 three-pointers. Quick and Farr each scored 7 with Boone adding 5 for the Bears.
Rifle will play Palisade in the semi–finals Friday with the winner advancing to Saturday’s district championship against the Montrose-Durango winner. Those SWL teams advanced with close victories over Glenwood Springs (56-51) and Delta (45-41) respectively. The Demons will meet the Panthers at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Palisade High School, with the winner getting one of the six WSL state tournament spots.