KMTS BASKETBALL: GLENWOOD GIRLS RECOVER, OVERCOME DEVILS

GLENWOOD SPRINGS (2/2/17) – On Ground Hog Day, with help from their only senior, the Glenwood Springs Lady Demons avoided repeating a two-point loss to Eagle Valley, recovering from an opening 10-0 salvo by the Devils and winning their last home game of the season, 39-37, Thursday.

The Glenwood boys weren’t able to duplicate the girls’ success, seeing an early 8-point lead dissolve in a flurry of missed three-pointers and dropping further behind Western Slope League leader Eagle Valley, 66-56.

GLENWOOD GIRLS 39, EAGLE VALLEY 37

Speaking of the only senior on this year’s squad, Glenwood coach Rhonda Moser said of Lauren Howell, “She’s so little, but she packs a punch from the 3-point line and brings a calmness to the floor.”

Both attributes factored into Glenwood’s comeback from an early 10-point deficit, built on opening 3-pointers from WSL scoring leader Kylie Martin and Taylor Hermosillo, two of Eagle’s five senior players. Martin also scored a put-back during the opening run, but was held to two points for the next 30 minutes of the game, primarily by the tight defense provided by Saylor Warren. “Saylor did a great job on her,” Moser commented.

Ximena Gutierrez and Maddie Bolitho, both in the league top five in steals, led an active Demon defense that provided the basis for Glenwood’s comeback, along with Tatum Peterson’s strong inside play and a pair of timely 3-pointers from Howell and one from Ellie Moser.

The Demons forced seven Devil turnovers after trailing 10-0 less than two minutes into the game, outscoring Eagle 15-9 the rest of the quarter. Both Gutierrez and Bolitho turned steals into layups and Peterson scored 7, bringing Glenwood within four on Moser’s trey. They closed the gap to one before Regan Bossow, whose 3-pointer won the game at Eagle in the closing seconds, dropped in another at the buzzer for a 19-15 advantage.

The Demons fell 8 points behind early in the second, but another Bolitho steal and layup, followed by Howell’s first 3-pointer and a floating shot by Gutierrez got the Demons within two, 25-23 with 3:30 to go in the half. Glenwood missed its last five shots and had four turnovers the rest of the quarter, but Eagle could only add Bossow’s two-pointer to lead 27-23 at halftime.

Howell, who has had six multiple trey games, despite limited playing time, buried another with 5:06 to go in the third quarter and Gutierrez’ steal and layup seconds later gave Glenwood its first lead, 28-27.

A basket by Bossow would tie the score at 30 with 3:53 left in the period, but Glenwood forced five turnovers while adding two scores from Peterson for a 34-30 lead at the quarter.

The Demons opened the fourth with a rash of turnovers, scoring only two of five from the line and missing their only two shots in the quarter. When Bossow returned from a spell on the bench following her fourth foul early in the period, she promptly buried a trey to cut Glenwood’s lead to 36-35 with 2:10 to play.

Both teams suffered turnovers and were unable to score until Peterson was fouled with 37 seconds remaining. Glenwood had made just 5-of-12 free throws to that point, but the 6-1 junior sank both for a 3-point lead.

Eagle called time out, then tried to get the ball in to Martin, but Bolitho collapsed on her, deflecting it to Natalya Taylor for the steal with 25 seconds left. The Demons turned the ball over after a time out, and fouled Jessica Adams, who missed the one-and-one, but Martin rebounded and scored, trimming Glenwood’s lead to 38-37 with nine seconds to go.

Eagle fouled Bolitho, and she made 1-of-2 free throws, then Peterson stole the in-bounds pass to clinch the hard-earned victory.

“Every time we play Eagle Valley, I get a few more grey hairs,” Moser remarked afterwards. “Those two turnovers (in the closing minute) put us behind, but we dug deep. I’m very proud of the girls.”

Peterson, fifth in the league in scoring, first in rebounds, and second in blocks, had 15 points, 11 boards, three steals and two blocks. Gutierrez scored seven and had seven steals. Bolitho tallied five to go with 4 assists and 8 steals. Martin was held to 9 points (seven below her league-leading average), managing just eight shooting attempts for the game. Bossow led the Devils with 14, making 2-of-4 three-pointers.

The win gives Glenwood (8-11 overall) a 4-4 league mark, a half-game behind Eagle (11-7, 4-3) for third place, facing four road games to end the regular season.

EAGLE VALLEY 66, GLENWOOD BOYS 56

The Glenwood boys, with a chance to regain a tie for the Western Slope League lead and avenge an overtime loss at Eagle Valley, started quickly, opening an 5-point lead, 12-7, with two minutes to go in the first quarter when Kevin Ayon sank a 3-pointer.

Not much went the Demons’ way after that, as the Devils 1-3-1 zone, with 6-6 Dawson Keller in the middle and 6-4 Jesus Loera and 6-3 Garrett Martin on the wing and underneath respectively, prevented any offensive penetration, forcing Glenwood to settle for outside shots.

Normally a strength for the Demons, this game they made just four of 22 three-point attempts to go with an uncharacteristically poor free-throw performance, missing 8 of 15 tries.

Tied 12-12 going into the second quarter, AJ Crowley’s 3-point play followed by a 3-pointer twice pushed the lead to four before Eagle finally overhauled the Demons with a late 9-2 run to lead 29-26 at halftime, despite ten from Crowley in the period.

The Devils never gave up the lead in the second half as an 9-0 surge early in the third expanded the margin to double-digits and keyed a 19-9 quarter advantage, for a 48-35 score going into the final frame.

Glenwood, behind six points each from Crowley and Carlos Nolasco-Montes, scored 21 in the 4th quarter, but never got closer than seven points as Arturo Loera’s third trey of the game and back-to-back inside buckets from Martin stemmed the Demon charge. Trailing 58-51 after Crowley’s jumper with 3:20 left, Glenwood was forced to foul and Arturo and Keller made four straight from the line to put the game out of reach.

Crowley scored 25, but Eagle Valley’s 7-for-11 mark from beyond the arc was enough to overcome his season-high effort. The Devils (13-5, 6-1) also went 7-for-7 from the line in the fourth quarter to maintain a one game lead on Rifle (8-9, 5-2) and move a game-and-a half in front of Glenwood (10-9, 5-3).

Next week the Demons hit the road to Summit (Tuesday), Steamboat Springs (Thursday) and Battle Mountain (Friday) before finishing the regular season at Rifle the following Tuesday.

About Jack Jabbour

High school sports analyst
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