KMTS BASKETBALL: DEMONS TAKE FIRST-PLACE SHOWDOWN WITH STEAMBOAT; BEARS SPLIT WITH DEVILS

GLENWOOD SPRINGS (1/25/20) – Both the Glenwood Springs boys and girls team remained undefeated in 2020 with wins over Steamboat Springs Saturday. The Lady Demons started slowly but a 29-8 second-half explosion buried the Sailors, 52-21 for their sixth straight win.

The boys game was a different story, as Steamboat was 4-0 in Western Slope League, set to challenge the 3-0 Demons for first place. The first half was low scoring with Steamboat on top most of the way, but gradually, as one of the Glenwood heroes Patrick Young explained after the 58-44 win, “We were firing on all cylinders.”

GLENWOOD SPRINGS BOYS 58, STEAMBOAT 44

“This was a really important game for the season,” the well-spoken Young explained in a post-game interview after his 11 second-half points sparked the Demons to nearly double their output of the first two quarters. “Coach (Fred Heisel) put five things on the board before the game: Rebounds, defense, free throws, outwork them, and put in the energy,” Young listed, and in all those areas, Glenwood (12-3, 4-0 ) excelled following a sluggish 10-10 first quarter.

Young’s driving baseline basket tied the score at the end of that period and his similar score to open the second frame gave Glenwood a lead they would never relinquish. AJ Adams scored on an excellent entry pass from Will Narvaez, who in addition to leading the league in rebounding is developing into an opportunistic passer.

Then the Demon defense went to work. At halftime Heisel switched from his team’s usual man-to-man into a 2-3 zone, which paid immediate dividends when Young and John Iuele turned steals into layups for eight straight points to open the quarter and an 18-10 lead.

Steamboat (8-8, 4-1) is one of the only teams with a front line taller than Narvaez and Adams, both 6-4. But 6-7 Eric Pollert picked up three, first-quarter fouls, and was never a factor and the 6-5 Jake Kressig scored on an in-bounds lob to the basket in the second quarter and was limited to just three errant shots the rest of the way. He and Pollert, who averaged a combined 18 points a game, managed just that lone score and two rebounds combined, none in the second half. Narvaez and Adams combined for 12 points and 17 boards, with Mitchell Burt adding seven caroms, giving Glenwood a substantial 31-19 margin off the glass.

That in-bounds lob to Kressig trimmed Glenwood’s halftime margin to 20-16, but an 18-11 third quarter seized control for the Demons. A three-pointer followed by a jumper (on a pass from Narvaez) by Young kicked the lead to 27-18 and Reid Swanson’s steal and layup pushed the advantage to double digits with 3 minutes to go in the quarter. Offensive rebounds by Narvaez and Burt led to scores that held off a sudden flurry of 3-pointers by Steamboat’s Connor Hansen (2) and Cade Gedeon for a 38-27 lead into the fourth quarter.

The Demons kept up the pressure at both ends of the floor, Adams scoring a put-back and Narvaez again finding Burt for a jumper and Glenwood’s biggest lead, 41-27 forcing a Steamboat timeout with 4:33 to go. The Sailors hit a couple of treys, including a 4-point play by Ethan Pyles to get within 46-36 with 3:31 left.

Glenwood slammed the door at the free throw line, four different Demons going 10-for-10 from the line in the last three minutes. Those sinking the Sailors included Narvaez, Iuele, Young (4-for-4), and Adam Schrader.

Burt and Young tied for team scoring honors with 15 each, followed by 11 from Iuele (4 assists, 3 steals) and 7 by Narvaez, who had 5 assists to go with his 10 rebounds. Hansen led the Sailors with 15 points; Dawson Linquist adding 11.

GLENWOOD GIRLS 52, STEAMBOAT 21

The Lady Demons (12-3, 4-0) began the game by going nearly four-and-a-half minutes without a point and trailed 2-0 when Qwynn Massie’s jumper tied the score with 3:35 to go in the quarter. Seconds later Hadley Yellico turned a steal into a layup, and Glenwood never trailed again.

Massie tallied seven points in the Demon’s 9-4 quarter, on her way to a career high 18 points and 17 rebounds. The second quarter, Natalya Taylor broke a 7-game, 3-point drought, helping the Demons to a 23-13 halftime lead. Joslyn Spires also hit the first of her three triples in the period.

Glenwood, riding 9 points from Massie and another Spires’ trey, effectively decided the outcome with a 12-2 third period, then tacked on another 17 in the final quarter, featuring a combined nine points from Kenzie Winder and Ella Johnson.

Winder finished with 7 points and Johnson had six assists and 3 steals. Gracie Dietrich and Maddie Moser each pulled down 8 rebounds as the Demons dominated the Sailors (4-11, 2-3) on the boards.

Glenwood continues its dual march to Western Slope championships on the road this week at Battle Mountain on Tuesday and Palisade Saturday.

RIFLE GIRLS MOVE INTO SECOND PLACE; BOYS GO TO 0-2 IN LEAGUE

RIFLE (1/24/20) – After a horrendous start, the Rifle Lady Bears (3-10, 2-1) have moved into second place in the league following a 46-29 comeback win over Eagle Valley on Friday. The boys (6-6, 0-2), missing WSL leading scorer Trey Lujan, lost a hard-fought 57-52 contest to the Devils.

RIFLE GIRLS 46, EAGLE VALLEY 29

The Rifle girls broke an 8-game losing streak a week ago in Steamboat Springs, then sparked by April Quinones, came back from a 14-10 first-quarter deficit against Eagle Valley for a 46-29 win that has the Bears in second place in the WSL standings.

An early 6-2 Rifle lead disappeared as Eagle’s Cody Eaton hit a 3-pointer, capping a 7-0 run for the lead and Joslin Blair banked in a buzzer-beating prayer for a four-point Devil advantage.

Quinones assisted on a basket by Taylor Davis, then turned a steal into a layup to tie the score early in the second quarter before Jamie Caron gave the Bears a lead they would never give up. Natalie Schauster’s basket capped an 8-0 run to start the quarter and two fast-break layups by Quinones helped Rifle to a 24-17 halftime edge.

Rifle ran off seven straight points, including a 3-pointer from Delaney Phillips, for a 31-19 lead early in the third quarter, but didn’t score for the last five-and-a-half minutes while CJ Yurcak’s two baskets brought the Devils within 31-23.

The Bears woke up in the fourth quarter, using offensive rebounds and putbacks by Davis, Caron, and Mackenzie Elizardo to fuel an 8-0 start for a 39-23 lead.

Midway through the final period Quinones scored on a steal and layup, giving her 10 points for the game. Elizardo also tallied 10, with 6 rebounds and 4 assists. Phillips had 7 points and Davis and Caron, who also combined for a dozen rebounds, scored 6 each.

EAGLE VALLEY BOYS 57, RIFLE 52

Without Lujan’s 15 points a game, the Rifle boys (6-6, 0-2) faced an uphill battle, especially when Eagle Valley(4-7, 1-4) sank three, first-quarter 3-pointers to take a 17-6 lead. But Tido Ruiz nailed a trey just before the buzzer to begin a comeback that saw the Bears come all the way back for a 22-20 lead on Garrett Robinson’s 3-pointer with 1:20 to go before halftime.

Eagle’s Keegan Garvey, who would make 5 of 10 treys for the game, answered with one and the Devils regained a 25-22 lead at intermission. Rifle surged ahead for the final time early in the third on another Ruiz 3-pointer and Kade Bishop’s inside basket, 27-25, but Nando Vidauri countered with a deep bomb and two more Garvey triples gave the Devils a 40-36 advantage into the final frame.

Another trey by Vidauri gave Eagle a 7-point lead with 3:45 to go, but the Bears battled back behind a 3-point play by Ruiz, two free throws and a basket by Bishop for a 50-50 tie with 1:10 remaining.

Carlos Martinez flashed to the basket, converting an “and-one” with a minute left. Robinson missed a pair of free throws, but his putback with 16 seconds left cut the lead to one. Garvey and Brandon Vigil each made two free throws to clinch the Devils’ first league win against four losses.

Ruiz led the Bears with 18, Bishop adding 17 and 6 rebounds. Garvey had 17 for Eagle Valley with Sanchez scoring 13 and Vigil 12.

The Bears travel to Summit on Tuesday before taking on Palisade and Battle Mountain next weekend.

About Jack Jabbour

High school sports analyst
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