STEAMBOAT SPRINGS (1/17/15) – Defense still wins championships, a bromide born out by a pair of Glenwood wins at Steamboat Springs, keeping the boys and girls teams undefeated and in first place in Western Slope League play.
After an early challenge, the Lady Demons (9-2, 5-0) ran off a 13-0 stretch to win easily 51-19. It was a different story for the boys who faced an unbeaten Sailor team, featuring reportedly, “the best big man on the Western Slope” in 6-8 Garrett Bye.
“Our guys are pretty solid too,” Glenwood coach Cory Hitchcock said of his 6-6 post players Will Gray and Zack Peterson, and they were up to the defensive challenge, limiting Bye to 9 points and 8 rebounds, with no blocked shots, in a 45-38 win that saw Cam Horning and his Demon teammates outscore Steamboat 9-1 in the final two minutes for the victory that leaves them alone atop the WSL.
GLENWOOD GIRLS 51, STEAMBOAT 19
After Megan Limberg’s 3-pointer sliced an early Glenwood lead to 7-5, the Lady Demons scored the final eight to take a 15-5 quarter lead and the opening six points in the second period. The Sailors would finish 1-for-16 on three-point tries against the Glenwood man defense, and make just 5-of-51 shots in the game.
The Sailors made one basket in 23 attempts combined in the second and third quarters as Glenwood led 25-7 at the half and 35-13 going into the final frame.
Madi Spence led the Demons with 20 points, 7 rebounds, 5 steals, and 6 blocks. Jordan DeCrow had 9 points, 9 steals, and 7 assists. Hailey Armstrong scored just 6, but had 13 rebounds.
GLENWOOD BOYS 45, STEAMBOAT 38
An emotional coach Hitchcock praised his team’s effort after “we worked hard the whole week on defense,” in preparing for the first-place showdown. The Demon post players held Bye to just three points through the first three quarters, after which Glenwood held a 27-23 lead. “Zack and Big Will did a great job on him,” Hitchcock said.
But perhaps the best work was done on the Sailors’ leading scorer, Robi Powers, after he got off to a fast first-quarter start, scoring 9 of Steamboat’s 11-6 lead. “Evrett (Marr) and AJ (Crowley) made him earn everything,” Hitchcock said as they held the 16-points a game scorer to just two for the rest of the game.
With Steamboat up by 6, Brian Burbidge scored inside on a pass from Matt Osier and hit a 3-pointer before Cam Horning scored his first points to give Glenwood its first lead, 13-12 three minutes into the second quarter.
Bye’s dunk regained a one-point edge for Steamboat but Burbidge nailed a jumper on an in-bounds pass from Mason Yellico to go back in front. After Bye’s free throw tied the score, Peterson scored back-to-back buckets for a 19-15 halftime lead.
It was an odd first half for the home-town Sailors, who were flagged for six offensive fouls (committing just one other turnover) and with Bye going 1-for-5 from the free throw line and his team making just 4-of-18 field goals. The Sailors were doing a superb job of defending Glenwood’s top scorer, holding Horning to two points, but that would change dramatically in the second half.
The teams were each held to 8 points in the third quarter, Horning tallying all 8 for Glenwood, including a 3-pointer that pushed the lead to five. Powers only second-half basket trimmed the margin to 27-23 going into the final frame.
A 3-pointer by Brody King sliced the Demon lead to two, but Marr assisted Peterson for a basket, then Zack returned the favor after a steal for a 31-26 lead. Bye finally heated up, scoring 6 straight for Steamboat and Austin Kerbs’ 3-point play put the Sailors ahead, 35-34 with 4 minutes to play.
Steamboat missed three straight free throws, but still led 37-36 with two minutes to play when Horning took control, driving down the lane for a finger-tip lay-in, then stealing the inbounds pass for another layup and a 40-37 lead with 1:44 to go.
Hector Lopez made 1-of-2 from the line to cut the lead to two when the game’s most crucial play occurred. Trying to hold the ball in the final minute, Horning fell to the floor and was called for traveling, but another official saw a foul by Lopez, retaining possession for Glenwood.
Osier drove into the lane, drawing the towering Bye, then underhanded the ball to Peterson who finished and was fouled, then made the free throw for a commanding 43-38 advantage with 44 seconds remaining.
King and Powers each missed a pair of 3-pointers in the waning seconds and Yellico dropped in two free throws for the final score.
“I’m so proud of this team,” Hitchcock said. “They kept their composure down the stretch. It’s a huge team win.” Hitchcock explained his big men’s defensive determination revealing that a Western Slope newspaper tweet had made the effusive claim for Bye. Peterson answered the challenge, matching Bye’s points and rebounds with 9 and 8, respectively and playing a superb defensive game.
Horning scored 17 in the second half, leading all p;ayers with 19 for the game as Glenwood (8-4, 5-0) now stands alone in first place handing the Sailors (7-5, 4-1) their first league loss.
Glenwood will go to Summit for a pair of games Thursday and host Delta on Saturday.