KMTS Basketball: LADY DEMONS STUMBLE; GLENWOOD BOYS CRUISE PAST HUSKIES

EDWARDS (2/12/19) — Coming into last weekend, both Glenwood Springs boys and girls basketball teams were on extended winning streaks and in control of their 4A playoff destiny. As Valentine's Day approaches, both Demon squads had their hearts and hopes — if not broken, certainly disappointed, having been tied for first place in Western Slope League play. The boys had a thirteen-game winning streak destroyed in a lopsided loss to Steamboat Springs 72-46 at home Saturday, followed by the girls' five-game unbeaten skein going down at Battle Mountain, 50-45, on Abraham Lincoln's birthday, Tuesday.

Because the girls' loss was the second to the Lady Huskies this season, Battle Mountain (13-8, 9-2 WSL) owns the tiebreaker for the top spot in the standings, with each team facing a challenge in its final game this weekend. Glenwood (13-9, 9-2) travels to Palisade (9-12, 7-3), which clobbered Battle Mountain, 43-25, a week ago, while the Huskies try to avenge a 40-39 loss to Rifle.

The Glenwood boys (17-5, 10-1) are in a somewhat better situation, having split the season series with the Sailors (18-3, 9-1), who play Eagle Valley (8-11, 3-8) and Summit (5-15, 0-9), while the Demons travel to third-place Palisade (15-6, 7-3), whom they narrowly edged 55-52 at home.

BATTLE MOUNTAIN 50, GLENWOOD GIRLS 45
Despite more turnovers than they'd committed in any of their last eight games, the Glenwood girls took a 33-31 lead into the final quarter of the first-place showdown with Battle Mountain. The Huskies' 1-3-1 zone was giving the visitors fits as the Demon guards continually dribbled into traps, short-circuiting Glenwood's improving inside game, and the outside shooting couldn't bail them out. Battle Mountain's Audrey Teague shadowed the Demons' state-leading 3-point shooter, Emily Worline, everywhere she went, resulting in just a 2-for-6 night for the senior, who had hit 9-of-23 in Glenwood's 55-44 loss to the Huskies in January.

Meanwhile, Battle Mountain and Gabriela Caballero were having success beyond the arc. Early in the third quarter, the Huskies had connected on 7-of-14 three-point tries, with Caballero making 3-of-5, and held a 30-25 lead. Worline then sank her only two long-distance shots of the game, pulling Glenwood into a 31-31 tie, and Ashley Barragan's crisp entry pass to Sequoia Kellogg led to a bank shot and the two-point leading going into the last quarter.

Eleanor Sheahan got loose inside on the first possession of the final frame, tying the score and beginning a 9-0 Husky run, punctuated by the fourth trey of the night from Alden Pennington (who had made only ten all season). When Caballero hit her fourth triple with 4:41 to go, Glenwood fell behind by eight, 43-35. Despite Battle Mountain missing four of seven free throws down the stretch, the Demons could get no closer than four, when Hadley Yellico banked in a 3-pointer with 25 seconds left.

Worline's 12 led Glenwood with Qwynn Massie and Ximena Gutierrez adding eight and Yellico 6. Pennington and Caballero combined for 25, making 8-of-17 three-pointers. Glenwood made just 14-of-52 shots and wound up with 24 turnovers, the highest total since committing 25 in a one-sided win over Rifle, January 11.

GLENWOOD BOYS 74, BATTLE MOUNTAIN 64

After a 29-point second quarter, Glenwood held a 51-27 halftime lead at Battle Mountain and seemed destined to easily surpass its season high of 79 versus Summit. Despite two starters, Wyatt Ewer and Angel Garcia, not suiting up, the Demons had the game well in hand thanks to a devastating press that led to multiple steals and layups, six by Chano Gonzalez alone in the second quarter. Gonzalez had 21 points at halftime, with Holden Kleager drilling two treys among a season-high 13 points.

The scoring slowed considerably in the third quarter, but the Demons still led 63-41 going into the fourth and boosted the margin to 26 after Will Navarez scored on an in-bounds pass two minutes into the period. Then Battle Mountain scored 14 straight, including a six-point possession due to a scorebook technical foul, prompting coach Fred Heisel to send his starters back into the game. Luke Gair's free throw halted the run, but Jesus Caballero dropped in a trey with 2:15 to go, cutting the lead to ten. Kevin Ayon's eighth steal of the game led to his ninth assist and a Gonzalez layup that restored the margin to 13 with 1:22 to go, and a pair of free throws by Mitchell Burt helped hold off a 6-1 Battle Mountain finish to the contest.

Gonzalez led all scorers with 26 points and also had five assists. Burt had 10 points for the game and Ayon, Erwin Rodriguez, and Gair each tallied seven. Owen Ruotolo and Baker Gentry led the Huskies with 15 apiece.

The Glenwood teams finish the regular season at Palisade on Friday, then await the CHSAA playoff seeding to be announced on Sunday.

About Jack Jabbour

High school sports analyst
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