KMTS BASKETBALL: Demons Overcome Early Struggles to Sweep Devils

GYPSUM (1/6/15) – “No one plays well coming out of the break; we’re just glad to get a win,” Glenwood boys basketball coach Cory Hitchcock said after a winless Eagle Valley team used 19 first-half free throw opportunities and a ragged Demon offense to hang close before falling 66-44. The Lady Demons also struggled early, missing 15 of 18 first-quarter shots before finding the range to hand a tough Eagle Valley (7-2, 2-1) girls team its first league loss, 42-31 Tuesday.

GLENWOOD GIRLS 42, EAGLE VALLEY 31

Coming in with a 7-1 record and 2-0 in WSL play prior to Christmas break, the Lady Devils are one of the few teams who can rebound with Glenwood (7-2, 3-0), thanks to the six-foot Martin sisters. Sophomore Kylie and senior Taylor each scored as Eagle led 6-0 at the start. Kylie added four more as the Devils led 11-5 before a put-back by Madi Spence reduced the lead to four at quarter’s end.

Taylor, however, was frustrated the remainder of the night by Spence’s defense, missing her next six shots and having back-to-back attempts blocked by the Demon 6-footer at one point. She finished the game making just three of 15 shots.

Glenwood, meanwhile, scored the first ten points of the second period in various ways. Hailey Armstrong hit a jumper on a pass from Spence, then turned a steal into a layup to tie the score at 11. Makena Warren fed Spence, who hooked in a shot for a lead the Demons would expand on the rest of the way. Bella Diaz scored the last two buckets in the run as she released early and first Spence, then Jordan DeCrow found her on long passes for layups, giving Glenwood a 17-11 lead with five minutes to go in the half.

Both teams went silent after that, Eagle’s Mariel Gutierrez scoring the only points for either side for nearly four minutes. Spence broke the spell for Glenwood with 1:30 to go by rebounding a missed layup by Armstrong and giving the Demons a 19-13 halftime lead.

Eagle made six straight free throws in the third to offset a 2-for-15 performance from the floor as both teams struggled to a 10-10 tie. Glenwood, which suffered through 31 turnovers against a full court press in Delta before prevailing, again struggled to beat the press in the fourth quarter. Two steals by Gutierrez in the press led to Kylie Martin’s layup and a rare easy basket by Taylor to shave the Demon lead to 29-27 with 6:30 to play.

Glenwood, which had made just 18 of 41 free throws in its two league wins before the break made some vacation work at the line pay off down the stretch, particularly by Armstrong. The 6-foot senior, who had made just 43 per cent of her free throws before this game, drained six straight, four in the fourth quarter, starting with a 3-point play to push the lead to five.

DeCrow then dropped in a trey on a pass from Diaz, and Armstrong made two more free throws for a 37-27 lead with 4:35 to go. A basket by Diaz on a pass from Spence capped the 10-0 run and clinched the outcome, despite six turnovers in the quarter against the press.

Spence and Armstrong shared scoring honors with a dozen each and combined for 28 rebounds, Spence hauling down 18 in addition to recording six steals and five blocks. Diaz tallied ten, while Kylie Martin led all players with 16 points. With the Martin sisters combining for 18 rebounds, Glenwood just edged Eagle Valley on the boards, 36-34, but the Devils 11-for-55 shooting mark doomed them to defeat, leaving Glenwood (7-2, 3-0) and Palisade (4-2, 1-0) as the only teams still unbeaten in Western Slope League play.

GLENWOOD BOYS 66, EAGLE VALLEY 44

The Eagle Valley boys, having lost all eight of their games before the break, surprised Glenwood with a strong first quarter, running off six straight points for an early 6-2 lead, then mounting a 9-0 run down the stretch to go up 15-9 with 1:30 to play in the quarter. It could have been worse, but the Devils missed 4 of 5 free throw chances in that stretch. Evrett Marr turned the tables by making 3 of 4 from the line for Glenwood, and Brian Burbidge sank two more to close the gap to 17-14 at the end of the period.

With whistles more prevalent than at the Meeker sheepdog trials, both teams were in double bonus (ten fouls each) with 5:38 left in the half. The constant parade to the free throw line made it difficult for either team to find a flow offensively, but Burbidge and Cam Horning combined for all but two of Glenwood’s 15-9 quarter’s edge with Horning’s 3-pointer snapping a tie and giving the Demons a 29-26 halftime lead.

In the third quarter coach Hitchcock pulled out the 1-3-1 defense that helped Glenwood neutralize Delta’s inside game, and it disrupted the Eagle Valley offense to the point that their only baskets came on a pair of follow-shots as Glenwood ran up a 17-7 quarter score. Burbidge hit a trey and Horning tallied six to put the Demons in control, 46-33.
Glenwood continued to find the range, making 8-of-14 from the floor and 6-of-7 free throws for a 20-11 final frame, Horning adding seven to finish with 21 after a scoreless first period. Burbidge had 12 points and 12 boards, and Will Gray was productive off the bench as well, scoring 8, grabbing 8 rebounds, and blocking 4 shots.

The win leaves the Demons (6-3, 3-0) as one of three undefeated WSL teams, along with Steamboat Springs and Palisade. Glenwood will host Battle Mountain (3-5, 1-1) Friday night.

About Jack Jabbour

High school sports analyst
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