GLENWOOD SPRINGS(1/21/16) – There is a biblical saying that speaks of beauty coming from ashes. The comparison may be somewhat severe, but there’s no denying that the injury misfortune that has plagued the Glenwood Lady Demons, along with a four-game league losing streak, has had coach Rhonda Moser searching for silver linings. In 5-7 freshman Ximena Gutierrez, the Demons have appeared to have struck gold, to mix a metaphor.
Gutierrez, who had made one varsity appearance through the team’s first nine games, got an opportunity when injuries forced Madi Bolitho and Kristen Bates to the sideline and Makena and Saylor Warren missed the Steamboat game when their family was out of town. Though Glenwood lost by 12 points, Gutierrez scored 11 points and followed that with five points, showing no fear in driving to the basket in a loss to Rifle.
That was enough to move her into the starting lineup against Summit where her aggressive play, along with sophomore Tatum Peterson’s 17 points and 15 rebounds, led the Demons (3-8, 2-4 WSL) to a 38-34 win over the Tigers (4-8, 0-6).
The Glenwood boys (6-6, 4-2) also got back on the winning track after a pair of league losses, easily outdistancing Summit (1-11, 1-5), 86-59, behind 23 points from Cam Horning and a combined 22 points from freshmen Angel Garcia and Chano Gonzalez.
GLENWOOD GIRLS 38, SUMMIT 34
There was nothing pretty about the final three minutes of the battle to avoid the Western Slope cellar. Tied at 34 following a steal by Peterson that led to a give-and-go basket for her from Makena Warren, the two teams combined for 13 turnovers in the frantic final minutes with neither team scoring until Peterson put back a missed shot at the 30-second mark for a 36-34 lead.
That go-ahead possession was set up by a steal from Gutierrez, whose six, third-quarter points helped Glenwood take a 30-26 lead after three ties and four lead changes.
Summit took its final lead with a free throw by Megan McDonell, 33-32 with 5:30 left in the game. McDonell again made one-of-two at the line with 3:56 left to extend the lead to 34-32. The Tigers would not score again, missing their final five free throws and six shots, despite six offensive rebounds.
Glenwood’s full-court press and defense from Megan Uren, Peterson, and Gonzalez forced turnovers on six consecutive possessions as Peterson scored three times to tie, then take the lead and pad it on an in-bounds pass from Dani DeCrow to Peterson.
The 6-0 sophomore, who had been held to single-digit scoring in three of the Demons’ four league losses finally got untracked underneath and was supported by 7 points from Lauren Howell and six each by Uren and Gutierrez. Madi Hert contributed 9 rebounds and two steals to the Demon defense. Gutierrez also added three assists and five steals. McDonnell led the Tigers with 16 points.
GLENWOOD BOYS 86, SUMMIT 59
After Steamboat Springs limited the senior league scoring leader to a season-low 14 points, Horning bounced back with 33 against Rifle, but the Bears had too much firepower between Jacob Boone’s 27 and a combined 31 from Avery Lujan and Luis Carreon in Rifle’s 72-60 win on Tuesday.
Horning had plenty of help against Summit as the Demons took a 19-6 first-quarter lead, then blistered the net for 25 in racing to a 44-20 halftime advantage.
Gonzalez, a 5-10 freshman guard, made his varsity debut against the Bears, scoring two points. Garcia, also a 5-10 freshman, has been contributing all season, starting a few games and averaging about four points a game and making 8 of 30 three-pointers.
The two freshmen, with 11 points apiece, weren’t Horning’s only scoring support as sophomores Aaron Smith and Cullen O’Brien each tallied nine, as did senior Colin Brown.
Saturday, the Demons travel to Delta, a team both teams defeated in their Western Slope opener in Glenwood before Christmas.