LAKEWOOD (2/27/14) — The “Redemption Tour” closed on the road as the Glenwood Springs boys, given a second chance through an at-large bid to the 4A state tournament, ran into a sizzling Green Mountain team and lost 80-54.
After losing two straight and failing to secure one of the six spots from the Western Slope district tournament, Glenwood (15-8) received the 11th seed in Region one, but the number 6 Rams (14-9, third in the Jeffco League) hit 6 of their first 8 shots for a 7-0 lead and went on to score a season-high 80 points and shoot 51 per cent for the game, including 7 of 18 beyond the arc.
“That’s the best I’ve seen a team shoot,” Demon coach Cory Hitchcock said afterward. “They were on fire.” Glenwood did come within three, 9-6, after a Cam Horning 3-pointer, but the Rams scored the next seven, and led 25-8 after the first quarter.
Horning and Jared Gambrel each tallied five in the second period for the Demons, but Harlan Bair, with a pair of treys, and Austin Fitts, who went 4-5 at the line, put up 6 apiece as Green Mountain extended its lead to 41-24 by halftime.
Glenwood continued to score well, “but our defense wasn’t what it needed to be,” Hitchcock said as Daniel Brughelli and Bair combined for 11 in the third, and the Rams outscored the Demons 21-16.
Bair, who came into the contest averaging two-and-a-half points a game, connected on 3-of-5 three-pointers and had 15 for the game. Another reserve, Alec Stowall, who averaged less than two points a game for the season, scored 8 in the second half. But two of the Rams’ front-line players did most of the damage. Brughelli scored 13 of his 21 in the first quarter, and Fritts, a lightning-quick sophomore, finished with 17.
A tearful Gambrel, who couldn’t say enough about his teammates in a post-game interview, led the Demons with 12 points in his last game. Gambrel and Pete Steckler are the only seniors on a young team that bounced back from a disappointing season last year to get a taste of the state playoffs. “We’re very young and can only get better,” Hitchcock said. Junior Brian Burbidge, whose brother Randy played on the last Demon playoff team, which was also eliminated by Green Mountain in 2012, scored 11 points, and Horning, a sophomore had 10. Junior Sawyer Linman came off the bench for 8 points and 4 rebounds, and 6-6 junior Will Gray had 6 points and 6 rebounds. Zack Peterson, a 6-6 junior, was limited by a foot injury in the Demons' last game, and will also return along with 6-2 freshman Dante Sparaco, who scored in a brief appearance against Green Mountain. Juniors Jake Gentry and Evrett Marr also contributed this year and will add depth for next season along with talented sophomores Mason Yellico, Matt Osier, and Max Glasener.
In Region two playoff action, the #5 Rifle Bears(18-4) easily dispatched #12 Kennedy, 60-28 at home and will travel to #4 Mead(15-8) Friday. Palisade defeated Evergreen, 53-44, while Delta lost, 78-61 at Pueblo Central. Steamboat Springs edged Sierra, 40-38.
The Glenwood girls (21-1), hosting a four-team regional, will play #7 Golden(13-11) Friday, hoping to meet the Weld Central-Palmer Ridge winner on Saturday with a place in the Sweet 16 on the line.