KMTS BASKETBALL: Glenwood Boys & Girls Win League Openers at Delta; Sweep Rifle in Denver

DELTA (12/18/14) – Surprises reigned supreme as the Glenwood boys and girls basketball teams rebounded from disappointing blowout losses in last weekend’s Demon Invitational to win their Western Slope League openers at Delta Thursday.

The next day at the Pepsi Center where the Denver Nuggets pro basketball team plays, the Demons swept the Rifle Bears, the girls dominating the boards and the game, 54-26, and the boys pulling away in the fourth quarter to win a slow-down sludgefest, 35-25. With the victories, both Glenwood teams improve to 2-0 in the league as they begin Christmas break, resuming in January at Eagle Valley.

GLENWOOD GIRLS 73, DELTA 62

A unexpected surprise – though probably not to coach Jacky Gaddis, who inserted junior Megan Uren into the starting lineup for the first time in her varsity career – was 14 points from the diminutive guard, to give Glenwood (6-2, 2-0) four double-figure scorers in amassing a season-high 73 points in defeating a scrappy Delta team.

The Panthers (3-4, 0-2 WSL) had some surprises of their own for the visiting Demons – coming back from double-digit deficits to tie the score in both the first and third quarters before Jordan DeCrow’s sensational passing keyed an 11-0 run in the fourth to wrap up the 73-62 win.

Another surprise was the outsized Delta team dominating the offensive glass in their comeback runs, and actually outrebounding the Demons for the game, 41-37, including 23 offensive boards.

DeCrow, who was held scoreless in the first half of the Demons’ one-point win over Faith Christian, and tallied just one point in the next day’s initial loss of the season versus Pueblo West, scored seven straight points and eight of a 10-0 first quarter run that ignited an 18-7 lead at Delta.

However, with Emily Baier, Lily Lockhart, and Megan Sandoval combining to provide a half-dozen second chances in the final three minutes, combined with five Demon turnovers against the Panthers’ full-court press, Delta outscored Glenwood 13-2 to knot the quarter at 20.

A drive by Rachel Huerkamp one minute into the second stanza gave Delta a 22-21 lead, but with DeCrow hitting a pair of 3-pointers, Hailey Armonstrong converting a 3-point play and contributions from Uren, Bella Diaz, and Makena Warren, Glenwood surged in front 34-24 at the 4-minute mark.

Delta again worked the offensive glass to its advantage, in the final two minutes of the half to pull within 37-31 at intermission, then outscored Glenwood 6-1 to open the third frame and cut the lead to 38-37.

Armstrong, who would tally a career-high 17 points to go with 10 rebounds, fueled another surge with a layup on a pass from a surprisingly neutralized Madi Spence and a putback of DeCrow’s miss, and Uren’s layup pushed the lead to 47-39 with 3:40 left in the quarter.

Lockheart, who scored all eight of her points in the third period, keyed another Panther comeback that tied the score at 49 with inside a minute to go, but Spence dropped in a jumper for her first basket since the first quarter for a 51-49 lead at the buzzer.

DeCrow nailed her fourth 3-pointer to open the final frame, but the 5-11 Baier, who would finish with 15 points and 10 boards, led a final Delta charge to within one, 56-55 with 6 minutes remaining in the game.

Spence hit another jumper, Uren splashed in a trey, and DeCrow found Diaz and Spence with crisp passes leading to laups to push the lead back to ten. A Uren putback and DeCrow’s steal and pass to the a sprinting Diaz for another layup capped an 11-0 run that finally clinched the outcome with three minutes left.

DeCrow led the balanced scoring with 18 points, along with 7 assists. Armstrong and Spence combined for 28 points and 24 rebounds, with Spence also registering 4 steals and 5 blocks in an energetic defensive performance. Diaz added 7 points and 7 assists.

GLENWOOD BOYS 67, DELTA 51

Surprise number one for the Glenwood boys was the immediate impact the return of Brian Burbidge from a foot injury had on an offense that was moribund during three
blowout losses during the Demon Invitational. Burbidge had 9 first-half points and 7 rebounds in a 67-51 win at Delta.

Zack Peterson picked up two early fouls as Delta rode Eian Baier’s six points (4-for-4 at the line following Peterson’s fouls) to a 9-4 first-quarter lead. Enter Burbidge for his first action of the season. Glenwood was 2-for-10 in the game’s first 5 minutes when the 6-3 senior rebounded his own miss and scored. Then he tipped away a Delta pass to Evrett Marr, pulled down a defensive rebound, and fed Jake Gentry for a layup for a 10-9 Demon lead.

The coup-de-grace came when Burbidge took a pass from Marr beyond the 3-point arc and sank the trey. Cam Horning added an additional spark, scoring 6 in Glenwood’s 15-2 closing run in the final 3-minutes of the quarter for a 19-11 lead. A putback by Horning and a looping floater by Mason Yellico pushed the advantage to 11 early in the second, but the 6-5 Baier triggered a Panther resurgence, hitting the offensive boards and scoring 10 points in drawing Delta within one, ten seconds before halftime.

However, Burbidge did some effective work himself on the glass, rebounding two of his own misses before putting in the basket that gave Glenwood a 34-29 lead at the break.

Glenwood coach Cory Hitchcock came up with the games’ decisive maneuver when he switched from his team’s usual man-to-man to a 1-3-1 zone defense that blanketed Delta’s twin towers, shutting out Baier and holding the 6-6 Cade Gafford to one basket and two free throws as the Demons opened the third quarter with a 16-4 burst.

At the defense’s apex, Horning harassed Delta’s ball handlers unmercilessly, converting two steals into layups, and on the other end, penetrating and dishing to Peterson for a pair of easy baskets and finding Will Gray for another to run the Glenwood lead to 50-31.

Up 54-39 heading into the fourth quarter, the Demons (5-3, 2-0) iced the contest by scoring the first nine points to lead by 24 with 3 minutes remaining.

Horning’s attacking style led to 21 points, without sinking a 3-pointer, to pace the Demons. Peterson played an effective third quarter despite foul trouble, finishing with 12 points and 9 points. Yellico continued to get his floating one-handers to fall, for a season-high 10 points as he and Burbidge provided 19 off the bench. Baier led the Panthers (3-4, 0-2) with 22 points and 15 rebounds.

GLENWOOD GIRLS 54, RIFLE 26
Madi Spence and Hailey Armstrong made sure the late return from Delta Thursday night, followed by the long drive to Denver on Friday didn’t affect the Lady Demons’ shooting legs by pulling down 33 rebounds between them and helping account for a dozen put-back baskets under the offensive glass on the way to a 54-26 victory over the previously undefeated Rifle Bears (5-1, 1-1).

Spence had 22 points and 21 rebounds, converting 8 of 12 offensive boards into points. Armstrong tallied 11 points and added 12 rebounds.

The Demons started slow, scoring just 9 first-quarter points, but Rifle found the deep background behind the baskets at the Nuggets’ home court baffling, making just 2 of 21 first-half shots. Meanwhile, Spence just kept putting in follow shots as Glenwood pulled away with a 19-4 second quarter barrage.

Bella Diaz added 9 points, most on layups keyed by long outlet passes from Spence, Armstrong, and point guard Jordan DeCrow, who chipped in 7 points. Megan Uren, making her second varsity start in place of the injured Jaime Crowley, added 5 points, including a 3-pointer. Elly Walters had 8 points to lead Rifle, but missed all 7 of her 3-point attempts. The rest of the Bears had little better success beyond the arc as the team finished 2-for-20 on long-distance tries, and wound up shooting just 8-for-52 for the game. The Demons dominated the boards, outrebounding Rifle 48-26. It didn’t help the Bears when Emily Neuroth went down midway through the second quarter with a possible knee injury.

GLENWOOD BOYS 35, RIFLE 25
Glenwood seemed to retain its league-opening momentum from the win at Delta, taking a 13-5 lead with 1:40 to go in the first quarter, but following a time out by Rifle coach Roger Walters, went scoreless for the next seven minutes, until Jake Gentry’s layup with two minutes to go in the half broke the drought. Rifle used back-to-back buckets by Cody Rice and pair of 3-pointers by Avery Lujan to take a 14-13 lead prior to Gentry’s drive, which regained the edge for Glenwood.

An inbounds basket by Morgan Robinson gave Rifle a 17-15 lead at halftime. Then things really slowed down.Cam Horning scored 7 of Glenwood’s 9 third-quarter points as the teams entered the 4th quarter tied at 24.

It was the Bears’ turn to lose their offensive way, failing to score another basket the rest of the game as Glenwood outscored them 11-1 in the fourth quarter.

Horning led the Demons with 14 points, supported by 6 from Brian Burbidge and 5 by Zack Peterson. Lujan had 10 to pace the Bears, who host Summit on Saturday.

About Jack Jabbour

High school sports analyst
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