GLENWOOD SPRINGS (2/14/15) – “We didn’t want a coin flip,” Glenwood Springs boys basketball coach Cory Hitchcock explained after his team won the Western Slope League title outright by pounding challenger Steamboat Springs, 69-36, in the regular season finale at Chavez-Spencer Gymnasium on Valentines’ Day.
The Lady Demons also won easily, 67-30, positioning themselves behind first-place Palisade and will find out whether they receive the second or third seed behind Montrose (15-4, 6-2), which finished second to Grand Junction in the 5A/4A Southwestern League, and defeated Glenwood 67-37 in the Demon Invitational in December.
GLENWOOD GIRLS 67, STEAMBOAT 30
Having lost twice to Palisade (18-2, 14-0), Glenwood (16-4, 12-2) didn’t have much to play for in a rematch with the youthful Sailors (4-16, 1-13) and missed their first six shots before a Madi Spence put-back gained a 3-2 lead that would build to 14-4 by the first quarter’s end. Then the Lady Demons exploded for their biggest scoring quarter of the season, running up a 32-6 period despite just two free throws from Spence, the league’s leading scorer. Jordan DeCrow led eight of her teammates in putting points on the board with 8, giving her 13 in the first half, including two 3-pointers.
Hailey Armstrong tallied 6 in the frame with Makena Warren adding five. The intensity dropped off in the third period when Glenwood struggled against the Sailors’ man-to-man defense, committing seven turnovers. For the game, the Demons were accurate from the free throw line, making 15-of-20, and strong on the boards with a 47-30 margin. In Steamboat, Glenwood barely edged the Sailors, 34-32 off the glass.
DeCrow and Armstrong each scored 13 to lead the Demon attack, Spence recording her 17th double-double of the season with 10 points and 12 rebounds after falling short the last two games against Rifle and Palisade. She also grabbed 6 steals and blocked 4 shots. Armstrong added 7 boards and 5 steals, and Bella Diaz dished out 5 assists before taking a blow to the face in the third quarter that sidelined her with an ice pack the remainder of the game. Warren scored a season-high 10 points and Jaime Crowley also reached that total.
GLENWOOD BOYS 69, STEAMBOAT 36
“We read in the newspaper that Steamboat said they were going to come in here and win. That wasn’t going to happen,” senior Zack Peterson said of the Sailors’ bid to gain revenge for their only league loss, 45-38, on their home court January 17th.
That game was tightly contested throughout, but the Demons “came out with energy,” Hitchcock said, grabbing a 16-9 first-quarter lead, featuring five points from Peterson on a pair of rebound, follow shots and a free throw, Will Gray adding a 3-point play on a put back, and Brian Burbidge also following up on a rebound.
When Evrett Marr dropped in a trey at the 5:20 mark of the second quarter, Glenwood led by twelve, 25-13, but four free throws and a triple by Robi Powers, followed by a couple of late putbacks by Austin Kerbs and Jonathan Rinck, sliced the Demons’ halftime lead to 30-26.
What Hitchcock called “awesome defensive intensity” turned a close battle for a shared league crown into a second-half rout. With Cam Horning taking the ball to the hole and also draining a 3-pointer on the way to a 9-point period, Glenwood buried Steamboat 20-4 in the third quarter. For the second half, the Sailors shot 3-for-22 and were outscored 39-10. Horning, Jake Gentry, Marr, Matt Osier, and great help defense shut down Powers, the league’s 3rd-leading scorer, holding him to three shots and no points after intermission. Garrett Bye, the Sailors’ 6-9 post, missed his only shot in the final two quarters and was forced into two traveling calls by Peterson and Gray, who shared duties on Bye and outrebounded him, 11-6 for the game.
Horning, as he did in the first game between these teams, had a dominant second half, scoring 15 of his 19 points. Peterson finished with 15 and 7 rebounds, with Gray and Jake Gentry, who also had 6 assists, each tallying 9 points. Powers led the Sailors (15-5, 12-2) with 11, but made just 1 of 7 3-pointers, while the rest of his team was 0-for-9 beyond the arc. The win secures the number-one seed for Glenwood ((17-3, 14-0) in the WSL District Tournament in Grand Junction beginning Thursday.