PALISADE (2/15/19) — With three seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Palisade in-bounded the ball to Watts Erb at the top of the free throw circle and the 6-3 junior’s three-pointer swished through the net just before the buzzer, producing a sustained roar from the home fans and sending Glenwood Springs into an overtime attempt to win its third straight Western Slope League title.

“If we’d made a few more free throws, there wouldn’t have been an overtime,” Demon coach Fred Heisel said after Glenwood (18-5, 11-1 WSL) outscored the Bulldogs 8-6 in the extra four-minute period to clinch at least a share of the title with Steamboat Springs (19-3, 10-1), which has one game to play.

The Glenwood Lady Demons (13-10, 9-3) missed an opportunity to take the WSL crown by losing their second straight game, 48-43 at surging Palisade (11-12, 9-3), following a 50-45 loss at Battle Mountain (14-8, 10-2) on Tuesday. “We just couldn’t make shots,” coach Rhonda Moser lamented after her team misfired on 41 of 55 attempts, including 21 of 25 three-point tries.


In a game that featured fifteen lead changes (including six in the fourth quarter and overtime) and seven ties, coach Heisel said the key to victory was a familiar one. “It’s what we’ve done well all year, play defense,” the first-year coach said. “We got barely enough stops,” Heisel said while singling out the play of Erwin Rodriguez, who did not score a point, but “he led the team on defense. (Sebastian) Campbell didn’t score when Erwin was guarding him.” And it was Rodriguez forcing a turnover by the Dogs’ Brendon Anderson with 1.6 seconds left in OT that denied Palisade the opportunity for a tying or winning shot.

Glenwood missed five of eight free throw chances in the final 37 seconds of the fourth quarter, allowing Erb’s only three-pointer of the night to tie the game. The Demons were nearly as bad at the line in OT, making just 4-of-9, but Chano Gonzalez made a layup on a pass from Rodriguez and hit two free throws for a 63-59 lead with 1:46 to play. However, Kevin Loya matched Gonzalez at the stripe and went one better with a three point play, giving Palisade a 64-63 edge with 19 seconds remaining.

Gonzalez answered with ten seconds left, on a drive that somehow avoided being called the fourth charging foul from the fourth quarter on, regaining the lead for the Demons, for a 65-64 lead. Then Gonzalez, a 77 percent shooter from the stripe on the season, missed four straight, leaving the door ajar before Rodriguez slammed it shut.

Another key, with starters Angel Garcia (illness) and Wyatt Ewer (injury) unable to contribute, was the play of junior Mitchell Burt off the bench. “Mitchell’s character is great to have on the floor at the end of a game,” Heisel said. “He hit some great shots,” including 5-of-5 from the line in a 9-point third quarter that helped Glenwood take a 45-42 lead after that period. Burt finished with a career-high 18 points in support of 24 from Gonzalez. Kevin Ayon, who also had 6 assists before fouling out in overtime, and Luke Gair, who exited on fouls in the fourth, each tallied 10 for the Demons. Erb’s 18 led the Bulldogs, with 6-8 Zane Haas scoring 15 before he fouled out with 11 seconds left in regulation.

Heisel is confident the Demons will earn a first-round bye when playoff seedings come out this Sunday. “We were ranked seventh coming into this game, so we should get a home game Saturday,” the coach predicted.


A second five-point loss on the road after five straight league victories dropped Glenwood into a tie for second place with Palisade, which won its final six games behind the emerging play of 6-2 sophomore Alexis Marushak. The Bulldogs’ last loss was 50-40 to Glenwood, January 26.

Held to just two first-quarter points by the defense of Kate Shanahan, Marushak broke loose once Glenwood’s 5-10 junior picked up her third foul in the third quarter, scoring 14 in the second half and 21 for the game. But it was the Lady Demons’ continued shooting woes that really cost Glenwood: a 4-for-25 performance dug too deep a hole, 25-12 at halftime.

Emily Worline, who missed all eight of her first-half three-pointers, finally made a couple, along with three free throws in an 18-11 third quarter that drew the Demons within six points going into the final period.

Ximena Gutierrez sank just the Demons’ third trey in 14 tries to open the fourth, and Qwynn Massie’s two shots at the line cut the Lady Bulldogs’ lead to one, 36-35 with 6:45 to go. However, a flurry of fouls fueled an 11-2 Palisade run in the next two minutes, Marushak scoring seven straight points and six straight free throws putting the home team ahead 47-37.

Gutierrez made another three and Gracie Dietrick scored on a put back to cut the margin in half, but Glenwood would miss its final nine shots, eight from beyond the arc, to frustrate the comeback attempt.

Marushak led all scorers with 21 points, also pulling down 12 rebounds. Massie’s 10 points paced the Demons with Dietrich and Worline each scoring nine.

Glenwood will likely play a mid-week game on the road when the 32-team 4A playoff bracket is announced this Sunday.