GYPSUM (2/5/16) – There’s nothing more compelling than a fourth-quarter comeback. In Eagle Valley’s “Inferno” gymnasium both Glenwood teams ignited in the final eight minutes, the boys winning 77-70 after trailing by 12 late in the third, and the girls, who were down 13-0 in the opening quarter, falling short 50-44.
GLENWOOD BOYS 77, EAGLE VALLEY 70
“We don’t want to get in a track meet where we don’t play defense,” boys coach Cory Hitchcock said, but with the Devils up 59-54 after three quarters, and both teams combining to connect on 13 of 20 three-pointers heading into the 4th, “It was like Blake Reisner (Glenwood’s track coach) was coaching,” Hitchcock said.
“For our team, it’s all about defense,” said Mason Yellico, who scored 9 of his game-high 18 points in the final frame. “Defense creates our offense, and we finally started to play defense.”
The Demon press produced some turnovers, and Glenwood outscored Eagle Valley 11-2 in a 3-minute stretch to take its first lead since the opening quarter on a pass from Yellico to Cam Horning, 66-64 with 5 minutes to play. Jesus Loera, who had 13 first-half points, but hadn’t scored since then, tied it, but Yellico drove the middle and floated a bank shot over 6-6 Dawson Keller with 4:20 to go, and Glenwood protected the lead by making 5-of-6 free throws the rest of the way.
Yellico connected on 4-of-6 three-point attempts in breaking into double-figures for the first time in nine games. “Coach has faith in me and told me to keep shooting,” the senior guard said. Horning added 17 points and freshman Angel Garcia scored ten first-half points with Carlos Nolasco contributing 8 in the second-half. Hitchcock pointed to another freshman, Chano Gonzalez, whose two free throws with 1:35 remaining pushed the Demon lead to 74-68. “A freshman in that moment knocking down two – that’s huge.”
Saturday afternoon the Demons (9-8, 7-4 WSL) will host first-place Rifle, which defeated them 72-60 in January. “We’re going to have to play defense much better to have a chance” against the Bears, Hitchcock emphasized.
EAGLE VALLEY 50, GLENWOOD GIRLS 44
Two nights ago, the Lady Demons got down big in the first quarter against Palisade and never recovered. Friday in Gypsum started the same way as the league’s leading scorer, junior Kylie Martin scored the first nine points of the game and Eagle Valley led 18-4 after one quarter. But Glenwood shut down Martin in the second quarter, a 7-1 run giving them confidence, and the Demons played the Devils even through the 4th quarter – however, that still left them trailing by twelve, 35-23.
“You have to come out with fire,” coach Rhonda Moser told her team at halftime, and though it took a while for that admonition to take effect, 3-pointers by seniors Megan Uren and Makena Warren, and a pair of put-backs by sophomore post Tatum Peterson had the Devil lead down to seven with 3:30 to play.
The Demons, who had limited Martin to just 3 points since her 11-point initial scoring burst, couldn’t keep her quiet in the final quarter. Averaging 20 points a game, Martin scored on drives, jumpers, and follow-shots, tallying the Devils first 15 points in the 4th, overcoming Peterson’s 9-point frame.
Still, the comeback and spirit shown by a team that now has lost 9 of its last 10 encouraged Moser, particularly the play of the seniors, including Vanessa Davila who scored seven, Uren tallied 9, and Warren had 11 rebounds to go with six points. Peterson, despite playing most of the second half with 4 fouls, led the team with 11 points and had 8 rebounds. Martin wound up with 29 points and 18 rebounds.