KMTS HOOPS: Glenwood Splits a Pair of Thrillers in Delta

DELTA (2/4/12) — The Glenwood Lady Demons avenged an earlier loss at home, surviving a heated final quarter for a 56-48 win in Delta that knotted the teams on top of the 4A Western Slope League standings. Glenwood\’s boys, battling for their playoff lives, rallied from a 19-point 4th quarter deficit to get within two, but fell short, 68-63.

GLENWOOD GIRLS 56, DELTA 48

When Delta defeated Glenwood 56-49 three weeks before, the Demons (16-3, 7-1 WSL) led early, fell behind by 11, then rained three\’s in the last period to close the gap to 3 points before the Panthers (16-3, 7-1) sank 9 of 10 free throws in the final two minutes to survive a battle of undefeated teams and take over first place. This time, Glenwood emerged victorious after keeping cool despite tempers flaring down the stretch, resulting in Delta\’s Callie Gafford being ejected with 1:24 to go in the game. Delaney Gaddis, who came within two assists of a quadruple double in the Demons\’ 66-41 win over Palisade the night before, missed both technical free throws. But seconds later the sophomore nailed a pair to give Glenwood a six point lead that was held because senior sister Cassidy made four more from the line in the final 14 seconds.

“I told the girls we don\’t play that kind of basketball,” coach Bryan Derby said after Gaddis was knocked to the floor trying for a loose ball, then Connor Adams, coming to her defense, was shoved hard by Gafford. All five Glenwood girls immediately walked to the other end of the court, while officials conferred, then ejected Gafford, who left with 11 points and 6 rebounds.

Glenwood, playing without injured center Lexie Warkentin, dominated the taller Panthers on the boards, 44-23, including 17 offensive rebounds. “We worked all week in practice on rebounding,” Derby said, as 5-9 Kenzie Nelson-Buehler and 5-7 Sarah Davis each pulled down 9 rebounds for the Demons and the 5-6 senior Gaddis grabbed 7. That tenacity on the glass enabled Glenwood to survive a poor shooting night, especially in the last three quarters when the Demons made just 11 of 38 shots. They also missed 10 of 22 free throws and committed 25 turnovers, but stopped the Panthers\’ 15-game winning streak by getting a balanced scoring performance from all five starters and a boost off the bench from 5-11 freshman Maddi Spence, who scored 4 points, picked off two steals, and grabbed 6 rebounds.

The Demons, who used Davis\’s first three-pointer of the season as the spark for an 8-0 start to the game, led 17-9 after one quarter as Delta made just 3 of 17 shots. With Spence scoring a pair of baskets when Davis and Adams encountered early foul trouble, Glenwood increased its lead by one to 26-17 at halftime, but Delta\’s leading scorer, Skylyn Webb finally got untracked after a 2 for 20 shooting start. She grabbed three steals to ignite a 13-0 Panther rally that gave Delta its first lead of the game, 30-28 before Nelson-Buehler\’s three halted the run. Webb promptly turned another steal into a layup and an assist to Taylor Zunich gave Delta a 34-31 lead with just over three minutes left in the quarter. Cassidy Gaddis knotted the score with a three and the Demons scored the final six points of the quarter to lead 42-36 going into the fourth.

A jumper by Webb and Gafford\’s put-back fueled a 6-0 Delta surge to knot the score again, but an inbounds pass from Nelson-Buehler to Davis for a layup gave Glenwood the lead for good, though missing six free throws in eight attempts, starting with the technical shots, didn\’t make holding the lead easy. However, the Demons showed enough poise under pressure and made just enough shots from the stripe to scramble into a first place tie with three games left in the regular season.

Delaney Gaddis led Glenwood with 14 points, adding 5 assists and 5 rebounds. Nelson-Buehler had 11 and Adams 10. Cassidy Gaddis scored 9 and Davis 8. Webb, who fouled out with 52 seconds left, had 15 for the Panthers, who missed all 17 of their three-point attempts in the game.

Glenwood goes to Battle Mountain next Thursday before traveling to Craig the following Tuesday to play second-place Moffat County and finishing the league season at home with Eagle Valley, Friday, February 17.

DELTA 68, GLENWOOD BOYS 63

Glenwood, clinging to the fourth playoff spot in the WSL, started hot, scoring nine straight points to grab an 11-2 lead over the second-place Panthers, but led just 15-13 by the end of the first quarter. A pair of layups by Michael McGraw pushed the lead back to six at the outset of the second period, but a 14-0 Delta run in less than two minutes quickly reversed the game\’s momentum, giving the Panthers a 31-22 lead with three minutes left in the half. A pair of treys by Jake Ames helped push the advantage to 39-26 at halftime.

Seven points by Colin Fraser and a 3-pointer off the bench by sophomore Keaton Reiher seemed to settle the outcome as Delta increased its lead to 21 points before a put-back by Robert Reynolds left the Panthers still comfortably ahead, 53-34 going into the final quarter.

Glenwood began the fourth with a 9-2 run, featuring steals leading to layups by McGraw and Sawyer Linman, and an offensive put-back by Logan Holmberg. Back-to-back baskets by Delta moved the margin to 16, but McGraw hit a pair of threes in the midst of a 13-2 Glenwood rally, slicing the lead to five with 3 minutes to play. The Demons missed 2 of 3 free throws in the next minute, but a pass from Reynolds to Chris Thomas sliced the Delta lead to 63-61 with 1:15 to play before Ethan Baier, who led the Panthers with 19 points, drove and scored with a minute left. An offensive foul nullified a Kellin Casey basket, but after Baier missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw opportunity, McGraw grabbed the rebound and Thomas, who hadn\’t scored a varsity point since the Rifle game, January 10th, converted another drive, trimming the Delta lead to 65-63 with 35 seconds left. Ames\’ two free throws 6 seconds later effectively sealed the win when Glenwood couldn\’t get another shot to fall, and Delta held on, despite making just 1 of 4 final free throws to provide the final margin.

McGraw\’s 13 final-quarter points gave him 26 for the game with Casey scoring 10, Reynolds and Thomas 7, and Holmberg 6. Ames matched Baier\’s 19 to lead Delta\’s scoring.

Glenwood, after losing to first-place Palisade 64-46 on Friday, is now 3-6 and tied with Steamboat Springs, which lost a pair of nail-biters, 46-44 to Eagle Valley and 55-54 to Battle Mountain this weekend, for the fourth and final playoff spot in the WSL, The Demons travel to Battle Mountain(1-8) and Moffat County(2-6) before finishing league play by hosting Eagle Valley(8-2). The Sailors play in Palisade(7-1) and Delta(8-2) next weekend before finishing at home with Moffat County.

About Jack Jabbour

High school sports analyst
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