KMTS Basketball: Demons Overcome Injuries, Sweep Battle Mountain

EDWARDS (1/12/18) – It was David versus Goliath, minus the slingshot. Missing their leading rebounder, the Glenwood Springs boys basketball team was facing a Battle Mountain front line that went 6-8, 6-5, 6-5. Angel Garcia, whose 26 points led all scorers in a scrambling 73-64 comeback from a ten-point first-half deficit, said the height disparity was nothing the Demons hadn’t faced before: “We’ve played against bigger people all season. We just go in(side) and get fouled.”

The Lady Demons had an even bigger obstacle to overcome, having lost their first two Western Slope League games and leading scorer, rebounder, and the conference’s top shot blocker, Tatum Peterson, to an ankle injury in the Rifle game. Battle Mountain was 2-0 in league, so Glenwood’s 50-29 win was even more impressive, as they outscored the Huskies a combined 25-10 in the second and third quarters to earn the road win.

GLENWOOD BOYS 73, BATTLE MOUNTAIN 64

Despite being outrebounded by ten with Luke Gair sidelined by an ankle injury, and facing what coach Cory Hitchcock called “one of their (Battle Mountain’s) better teams,” Glenwood used a 26-for-33 performance at the free throw line and 8-of-12 three-pointers totaled by Garcia and Chano Gonzalez to overcome the Huskies.

Glenwood grabbed an early 7-2 lead on treys from Garcia and Gonzalez, but the 6-8 Devin Huffman began a 10-2 quarter closeout with a breakaway rim-hanging dunk to the delight of the uproarious home crowd, then he and Baker Gentry sank 3-pointers for a 12-9 Husky lead going into the second period.

Another triple by Garcia, who would make a season-high 5-of-8 attempts, knotted the score, but Battle Mountain scored eight straight, included an alley-oop pass from Liam Hanagan that resulted in another crowd-pleasing dunk by Huffman. The Huskies built the lead to ten midway through the quarter before a 3-pointer from Gonzalez triggered a 7-0 Demon run.

With AJ Crowley’s 6-straight free throws leading the way, the Demons netted 10-of-10 from the line and a rebound and floor-length pass from Gonzalez to Crowley led to a lay-up that tied the score 30-30 a second before halftime.

Huffman had 17 points at halftime and added another five in a see-saw third quarter that saw three lead changes and three ties before back-to-back treys by Garcia gave the Demons a 40-37 lead with 4:30 to go and they would never relinquish it.

Gabe Suarez, Glenwood’s tallest player at 6-4, came off the bench to spark a 7-0 surge with an assist and two baskets for a 47-39 Demon lead, and a trey and layup by Gonzalez with Aaron Smith assisting helped maintain the eight-point spread, 52-44 into the final quarter.

Attempting to block the Gonzalez layup, Huffman may have smacked his head against the backboard and went down hard on the floor, also picking up his fourth foul. David Caballero trimmed the lead to five with a 3-pointer, but a Smith steal leading to Crowley’s layup initiated a 7-0 ran capped by Garcia’s fifth 3-pointer for a 12-point Demon margin. Huffman came back into the game and immediately drew his fifth and final foul, exiting with 22 points and eight rebounds, with 5:16 remaining.

The fight was out of the Huskies as Glenwood built a 14-point lead with 1:21 to go, easily withstanding a final Husky surge by making 12-of-16 free throws in the quarter.

After Garcia’s career-high scoring night, Glenwood had three other players in double figures – Crowley with 15, Gonzalez, 12, and Smith, 10, with 7 assists. “We’re definitely deep, and I have confidence in every guy, one-through-ten,” Hitchcock said of his continual substituting that allowed Glenwood to keep the pressure on Battle Mountain at both ends of the court.

Asked about the Demons’ fearless three-point shooting and drives to the basket even when the lead reached doubled digits, Hitchcock said, “We don’t want to stall – that’s not our style. We want to play aggressive.”

Garcia reinforced that philosophy: “We practice (that way) everyday, and coach is confident in us, so we let it fly.”

The win keeps Glenwood (9-3) on top in Western Slope League play at 4-0, as the Huskies (6-5) drop back to 2-2. Saturday afternoon, the Demons will host the three-balling Eagle Valley (4-8) Devils, who are 2-0 in the WSL and have hoisted 581 three-pointers in twelve games.

GLENWOOD GIRLS 50, BATTLE MOUNTAIN 29

With Peterson and her 11 point average, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks a game in a walking boot on the sidelines, the scoring burden against the Huskies fell directly on 5-6 senior point guard Maddie Bolitho, and she immediately responded. Driving to the hoop on Glenwood’s first possession, Bolitho was fouled, making 1-of-2, then nailed a 3-pointer and passed to Emily Worline for another trey, good for a 7-0 lead midway through the first period.

Battle Mountain would come back with a three from Gabriela Caballero and 5-of-6 free throws to close within one, 11-10, by quarter’s end, and tie the score at 12 two minutes into the next quarter. Glenwood opened the period missing its first ten shots, but the defense forced five Husky turnovers and held them without a basket for the final six minutes.

Natayla Taylor broke the scoring drought for the Demons, grabbing a rebound and taking it all the way for a layup to break the tie with 4:38 to go in the half. That coast-to-coast trip started an 8-0 stretch that featured a pair of baskets by 5-10 sophomore Qwynn Massie for a 20-12 Glenwood lead that was extended to 25-13 by halftime.

The Demons kept up a balanced attack with seven players getting into the scoring column while outpointing Battle Mountain 25-16 in the second half.

Bolitho led all scorers with 13, also grabbing 8 rebounds, dishing out 4 assists, and getting 3 steals and 2 blocks. Taylor scored 9 and Massie 8 for the Demons, with Ellie Moser adding 6 and Worline 5. Saylor Warren helped offset the Huskies’ 38-36 rebounding advantage by pulling down 7 boards. The Huskies were harassed into 27 turnovers while making just 8-of-49 shots.

Glenwood (6-6, 1-2 WSL) attempts to climb closer to the league leaders when it hosts 0-2 Eagle Valley (2-10 overall) Saturday afternoon.

About Jack Jabbour

High school sports analyst
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