KMTS BASKETBALL: Demons Impressive in 2nd Half Wins at Palisade

PALISADE (2/11/14) — Fighting through sluggish first halves, Glenwood’s boys and girls both finished strong to overcome challenges from physical Palisade teams to earn a sweep on the road and head home for their Western Slope League finales with Rifle.

GLENWOOD GIRLS 50, PALISADE 36

Only twice in their 18-0 season have the Lady Demons won by less than ten points, and one of those was a hard-fought 45-37 win over the Bulldogs in Glenwood. Even though they clinched the league title in last week’s 50-18 win over Battle Mountain, coach Jacky Gaddis felt her team had something of an emotional letdown following a big road win at Delta the night before, which showed in a 6-0 first-quarter score. Looking to bounce back and get ready for Rifle and number-three Mesa Ridge this weekend, the Demons (18-0, 13-0 WSL) found themselves in a defensive struggle before pulling away in the second half, 50-36 at Palisade.

The Lady Bulldogs led 11-10 after the opening quarter and only a pair of 3-pointers by Jordan DeCrow enabled Glenwood to take a 21-19 halftime edge, as the teams traded the lead seven times. Then the defense took over. After playing mostly zone through the first half, the Demons matched up man-to-man and held Palisade scoreless for all but 16 seconds of the third quarter.

Delaney Gaddis began what would be an 11-0 opening run with a 3-pointer and Madi Spence finished it with a pair of free throws and a put-back, both following offensive rebounds. With a 32-21 lead going into the final frame, the Demons stepped up their offense, pouring in 18 points, led by 10 from DeCrow, including two more 3-pointers early in the quarter.

DeCrow, who has been playing through a partial stress fracture in her foot and has failed to score in double figures in 5 of the last 6 games, led the scoring with 16 points. Spence registered her tenth double-double of the season with 13 points and 15 rebounds. Hailey Armstrong scored 7 and pulled down 11 boards. Gaddis, who leads Colorado 4A girls with 99 steals and 112 assists, while averaging 14 points a game and making 43 percent of her 3-pointers, only scored 7, but had 5 steals while the game was still close.

Palisade (11-7, 8-4) dropped into a second-place tie with Rifle (8-8, 8-4), the Demons’ Valentines Day opponents on Friday. Though its not likely they will overlook their long-time rivals, Saturday’s non-league game against 2nd-ranked Mesa Ridge (20-0) should be an exciting playoff preview in a rare, late-season matchup of top five (Colorado Preps) undefeated teams.

GLENWOOD BOYS 59, PALISADE 47

The “Redemption” tour, as coach Cory Hitchcock calls it, continued for the Glenwood boys as they gained a 59-47 payback for an embarrassing 55-39 loss at home to the Bulldogs. Last week the Demons avenged a home loss to Delta by winning on the Panthers’ court.

“Our game plan was to take away the 3-point shot, which hurt us last time,” Hitchcock said of the Bulldogs’ 8-of-10 performance beyond the arc in Glenwood. Palisade made only 2-of-8 while the score was close, until a phenomenal 11-straight free throws in the fourth quarter put the game away for the Demons.

That defensive plan helped hold Palisade scoreless for the first five minutes of the game, but Glenwood managed just five points during that time and led only 8-4 after one quarter.

The Demons pushed the lead to 8 following a steal and layup by Cam Horning, 18-10 with 2:45 to go in the half, but Jacob Bollinger drained a three and a pair of free throws to close the gap to 18-15 at intermission.

The second half was a see-saw battle from the free throw line, as Palisade stayed in the hunt by connecting on all 8 attemps at the line in the third period, while shooting just 2-of-10 from the floor. The Bulldogs got within one point twice, but Jared Gambrel’s jumper and Horning’s drive, followed by a shot from Evrett Marr kept Glenwood ahead and leading 33-27 going into the final quarter.

Will Gray hit a pair of shots inside to help the Demons stave off a 6-0 run in between by Palisade. But Skyler Miller nailed a trey, drove to the hoop for another score and swished two free throws, cutting the lead to one twice more before Gambrel stepped to the line with Glenwood clinging to a 39-38 lead and 4:24 to play.

“We were shooting free throws so badly, we didn’t even waste time in practice on them this week,” Hitchcock said, but Gambrel hit the first two of 11-straight for the Demons. In the midst of that stretch, Horning made 6, including 4 all by himself with everyone else at midcourt due to a technical foul. He was 8-for-8 in the quarter and 10-of-10 for the game.

Glenwood moved its lead, one point at a time, to 50-41 before finally missing a free throw with 1:36 remaining, and finished 18-of-21 for the quarter.

Horning led the scoring with 19 points and also grabbed 8 rebounds. Gambrel had a dozen points and 6 rebounds, and Zack Peterson had a double-double with 10 points and 12 boards before fouling out with 1:19 to go. The Demons scored 26 points in the final quarter, 41 in the second half, despite going 1-for-14 on three-point attempts for the game (0-for-6 in the last half).

“We put a lot of preparation into this game. The boys were disappointed with their performance and effort at home against Palisade, and I was disappointed with my coaching as well,” Hitchcock said after the win moved Glenwood (15-4, 10-3 WSL) ahead of the Bulldogs (11-7, 8-4) into second place, a half game behind first-place Rifle (13-3, 10-2) — their Valentine’s Day opponent in Glenwood in the final game of the regular season Friday.

“We’ve won two of our ‘Redemption’ games,” Hitchcock said, “and hope we can bounce back against Rifle, too.”

About Jack Jabbour

High school sports analyst
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