KMTS Basketball: ‘DOGS EDGE DEMONS ON LATE 3-POINTER AND RARE FREE THROWS

PALISADE (2/3/16) – As the Palisade Bulldogs’ junior quarterback, P.D. Riddle was used to finding the end zone and helping his football team to a 9-3 record last fall. So maybe it shouldn’t be a shock that Riddle would be the one to hit the winning basket with ten seconds left in Wednesday’s snow-delayed 63-61 win over Glenwood Springs.

What was unlikely about the 3-pointer from the top of the key that broke a second-place tie with the Demons (8-8, 6-4 Western Slope League) was, first, Palisade had missed all seven shots from beyond the arc prior to the game-winner, and even more significantly, it was only the third trey of the season Riddle had made.

It not only wiped out a 61-60 lead for Glenwood, but crushed a sensational fourth-quarter comeback led by Cam Horning, who scored the first 11 points in the period for the Demons while Palisade could make just 3 of 5 free throws and missed all seven of their floor shots, including a 3-point attempt by Riddle with 2:22 left in the game.

Horning, who was questionable before the game due to reinjuring his ankle in the waning seconds of the Demons’ last game, a 60-50 loss to Battle Mountain on Saturday, scored his 26th points of the contest on a 3-pointer that tied the game at 54 with 3:26 remaining.

Glenwood led 5-0 at the game’s outset, but fell behind by double-digits when Palisade scored 7 unanswered points to open the second quarter. Still down by ten with 3:45 left in the third quarter, a pair of jumpers by AJ Crowley and two laser passes from Horning to Jake Townsley and Aaron Smith (for a 3-point play) under the hoop began the Demon resurgence.

However, a 3-point play by Max Noland restored some of the Dogs’ advantage and they led 51-43 going into the 4th quarter. Horning, who had made just 4-of-14 shots to that point, shook off any ill-effects of his heavily taped and braced ankle with back to back driving scores to open the final period, then turned a steal into a layup to slice the lead to 51-49.

Palisade, which had made just 47 per cent of its free throws for the season, somehow discovered a magic touch from the line, with Tanner Hall and Noland making 5 of 6 in the next two minutes, which gave them an 18-of-24 success rate for the game, 75 per cent, and a 56-54 lead. Horning found Carlos Nolasco inside for a tricky shot off the glass to tie, then set up freshman Angel Garcia for a 3-pointer and 59-56 lead with 2:15 to go.

With a chance to pad the lead, Crowley missed the front end of a one-and-one after a Bulldog timeout, but tipped the ball to Horning for a steal with 20 seconds left and Glenwood clinging to a 61-60 lead. The league’s leading scorer seemed set to run out the clock, then ice the game when fouled, but instead slipped and lost the ball out of bounds, giving Palisade the possession that ended in Riddle’s unlikely 3-ball.

Glenwood had a chance to tie, but Nolasco’s twisting drive with 7 seconds left didn’t come close, and John Goff pulled down the rebound for Palisade. However, he lost his footing and was called for traveling with four-tenths of a second left in the game. Just enough time for an in-bounds pass, which Horning tipped, volleyball-setter style, toward the basket, but it fell short, hitting the front of the rim, ending the game.

Horning led all scorers with 28 points, pulling down 7 rebounds, grabbing 4 steals, and making 7 assists, two of which went down low to Colin Brown, who scored 6 points in the second quarter. Garcia and Crowley also each tallied 6 points. Goff led the Bulldogs with 16, followed by 12 from Noland, and 10 by Ian Schierland.

Palisade (7-9, 7-3) will travel to Battle Mountain (10-7, 7-4) on Friday in another battle for second place while the Demons go to Eagle Valley (5-10, 3-6).

PALISADE 56, GLENWOOD GIRLS 27

The Palisade Lady Bulldogs (13-2, 9-0) wasted no time demonstrating why they are undefeated in league play, taking an early 5-2 lead, then scoring 14 straight points to effectively end any chance of an upset or even a competitive game from Glenwood (3-13, 2-8), which has lost four straight and 8 of its last 9.

Christa Brown scored 8 and Aspen Guray 6 as the Bulldogs grabbed a 21-7 first quarter lead. The Demon defense limited Palisade to just 4 points on 2-of-10 shooting and forced 5 turnovers in the second period, but Glenwood missed 15 of its 16 shots, scoring just 3 points to trail 25-10 at halftime. Senior Ashlyn Brown did most of the damage in the third period, scoring 9, including two 3-pointers as the Bulldogs ripped off a 19-8 quarter.

Palisade had four players in double figures led by the senior Brown’s 14; junior sister Christa had 12 points to go with 11 rebounds. Madi Hert led the Demons with 8 points and 7 boards and freshman Ximena Gutierrez added 7 points, all in the second half.