KMTS BASKETBALL: Glenwood Girls Edge Golden, Play Palmer Ridge for Sweet 16

GLENWOOD SPRINGS (2/28/14) — “Don’t shoot it… Don’t shoot it…. Great shot!” Not your typical mother-daughter conversation, but one every coach has experienced. With Glenwood Springs holding a one-point lead in the fourth-quarter of their 48-44 second round state playoff win with Golden, Delaney Gaddis knew Mom, Lady Demon coach Jacky Gaddis, wanted her team to “make layups or be shooting free throws.”

But Gaddis, one of two seniors on Glenwood’s 23-1 team, had just seen Golden’s Riley Sanders drain her third 3-pointer of the game to cut a lead Glenwood had held since Gaddis’s 3-point play just before the end of the third quarter to 39-38 with 3:45 left. She brought the ball up and let it fly, restoring the Demons’ 4-point lead.

Golden (13-12), also called the Demons, shaved the lead to one again with 1:33 remaining when Jessica King, who’d kept her team afloat in the third quarter with 6 points, drove the lane, then dished to 6-3 Haley Blodgett for an easy basket. “She (King) had one move, but we couldn’t get a hold of it,” Delaney explained as Glenwood was unable to put the visitors away when Blodgett, who along with King, combined for 14 points as Golden took a 25-23 halftime lead, sat out the entire third period with three fouls.

King drove to the hoop for the third time in that quarter, scored and converted a foul shot for the 6th lead change since halftime before Gaddis answered with her own acrobatic move. So when King penetrated in the fourth quarter, Glenwood, now playing a zone because Blodgett had gotten both Demon 6-footers, Madi Spence and Hailey Armstrong, in foul trouble, had to honor the drive.

“That girl (Blodgett) was a force in the paint. We had to go to zone because of foul trouble, and it was a nice change for us,” coach Gaddis explained. After Blodgett’s basket, giving her 10 points in essentially two quarters, Gaddis called time out. Jordan DeCrow tried a high-post pass into Spence, who played the whole game in foul trouble herself, but it was tipped away by Golden. In the ensuing scramble for the loose ball Armstrong came up with it, but the referees stopped play as King lay at midcourt clutching her ankle in pain.

She hobbled off the court and Glenwood ran 14 seconds off the clock following the in-bounds pass before Gaddis was fouled by Sanders with 35 seconds remaining and her Demons still in front, 43-42. Shooting a one-and-one, if Gaddis missed, Golden could then go inside to Blodgett and win the game. With the home crowd standing, Gaddis set off a roar by just edging the ball over the front of the rim, then a celebration as she more confidently swished the second shot for a 3-point lead. “It’s the first time I’ve made both my free throws,” Gaddis said, perhaps thinking back to a 1-of-2 performance in the first quarter that ended with a banked-in three at the buzzer by Golden’s Alex Ambrozic for a 13-10 lead.

King returned, but now trailing by three, Sanders looked at a tying attempt, before dodging a defender and trying a jumper inside the arc that missed and was rebounded by DeCrow, who was immediately fouled. She made one-of-two for a 46-42 lead with 17 seconds to go, and King traveled with 12 seconds remaining. Spence made both free throws with 10 seconds left, but the second was waved off due to a lane violation, but DeCrow nabbed a steal and added one more free throw for the final score, sending the crowd into a frezied celebration and the Demons into the regional championship against Palmer Ridge (21-3), who defeated Weld Central, 57-37, earlier at Chavez-Spencer.

Gaddis added 5 steals to her 20 points, and DeCrow, whose first-quarter 3-pointer helped Glenwood come back from a 10-0 Golden run, finished with 10. Spence, after a scoreless first when she picked up two fouls, had 8 points and 9 rebounds. Armstrong, saddled with her 4th foul in the third period, added 6 points and 6 rebounds. Jaime Crowley scored only two points, but helped under in the boards, giving Glenwood’s foul-plagued bigs a breather. King led Golden with 16 points, Blodgett had 10, and Saners 9 on 3-of-6 three-pointers.

“This was a tough one,” coach Gaddis remarked, adding that the focus now was Palmer Ridge, The Lady Bears, from the Pikes Peak League, have a 6-1 center, Ali Meyer, who had 8 points in the second-round win over Weld County, but 5-10 Michelle DeCoud, who scored 18, and several 3-point threats also concern Glenwood’s coach. “They swing the ball. and they press. We have to stay calm,” the coach emphasized, and her daughter pointed to the Demons’ only loss of the season to Mesa Ridge as helping take on the challenge of the playoffs. “Mesa Ridge prepared us going against taller girls. We have that under our belt.”

Should the Demons advance to the Sweet Sixteen with a win over Palmer Ridge, their likely opponent will be undefeated Broomfield (24-0), which rolled over Rifle in the second round, 64-20.