GLENWOOD SPRINGS (1/11/19) –Bob Chavez walked to center court in the Glenwood Springs High School gymnasium that bears his name along with longtime GSHS Lady Demons coach Harlan Spencer. After acknowledging the cheers honoring him and the only undefeated state champion basketball team in Demon history, Chavez joyfully responded, “Once a Demon, always a Demon.”
The members of that 1979 team were honored 40 years after defeating Denver Christian to conclude their undefeated season, along with their four-time state champion coach, between games over rival Rifle, won by the girls, 51-24, and boys 61-53, as boththe Demon teams improved to 2-0 in Western Slope Leage play.
At halftime of the girls’ win, sealed by suffocating second-half defense, Middle Tennessee State athletic director Chris Massaro, a member of that 1979 hoops squad, said, “Coach Chavez loved us and was full of joy. I’ve never seen the guy have a bad day.”
During intermission of the boys game, where a 21-9 second quarter put Glenwood in front for good, Chavez said the senior-dominated team was motivated by a loss keeping them from the state tournament the season before: “They were like my sons. They wanted to be good, played hard, and I didn’t have to coach those seniors.”
Massaro and teammate Mike Vidakovich confirmed all their coach said, saying the team members spent countless hours under the lights at Strawberry Park toughening themselves and working together against seasoned, former players who competed regularly at those courts in the summer.
Chavez said his team was in great shape and would put teams away because they could “run, run, run.” The girls win over Rifle no doubt pleased the Colorado Hall of Fame coach, as the Demons used a 26-8 second half to extend the Bears’ record to 0-8 for the season.
Ashley Barragan’s 3-pointer broke an early 4-4 tie, but it was five treys by Emily Worline and tough man-to-man defense that insured Glenwood going to 2-0 in league play (5-7, overall). Worline led the scoring with 18 points, matching her career-high from Tuesday’s 64-11 win over Summit. Barragan also set her varsity standard with 11 points, adding 4 assists and 4 steals.
GLENWOOD BOYS 61, RIFLE 53
The Rifle Bears, after a one-win season last year, were off to a 7-2 non-league start this season, led by nine early, and had a 14-11 lead after one quarter, with Trey Lujan pouring in six straight points. The Demons made just 3-of-12 shots in that period, including 1-of-7 beyond the arc. Wyatt Ewer tied the score with a triple on the opening possession of the second quarter, Will Nevarez’ put-back gave Glenwood the lead for the first time. The Demon press produced nine turnovers in a 21-9 second quarter. A 3-pointer by Angel Garcia and two layups from Chano Gonzalez in the final minute broke open a 25-22 game, giving the Demons a 32-23 halftime lead.
Rifle stayed competitive the rest of the way, actually outscoring Glenwood 30-29 in the second half, but weren’t able to get any closer than a four-point deficit. Seven points from Holden Kleager, and 9-for-12 free throws in the third, helped the Demons to a 51-41 quarter lead.
Carter Pressler’s three-pointer narrowed the gap to 54-48 with three minutes left in the game, but a driving floater from Mitchell Burt and Ewer’s two free throws and court-length pass for a Gonzalez layup sealed the outcome. Lujan led all scorers with 19 and Gonzalez (14) and Ewer (11) paced the Demons. Kleager scored a season-high 9 points, with 7 rebounds, and Kevin Ayon had four steals to lead the Glenwood defense.
Glenwood hosts a pair of non-league games with Grand Junction Central Saturday afternoon.