GRAND JUNCTION (1/11/20) – The rust was evident as the Glenwood Springs boys and girls basketball teams returned to action after Christmas break, and so was the reality that both Demon squads will not only contend for Western Slope League championships, but may even be the favorites after sweeping a pair of ragged games at 5A Grand Junction.
GLENWOOD GIRLS 33, GRAND JUNCTION 22
Three single-digit scoring quarters, including a slim 5-3 edge at the outset of the game was evidence that the Glenwood girls (7-3) are not quite where they’d like to be heading into this Tuesday’s league opener at home versus Summit County (3-5, 0-1 WSL). However a 17-7 second quarter, fueled by a little of everything from senior Natalya Taylor and two 3-point bombs from junior Maddie Moser were enough to provide separation from the Tigers (3-8), who managed just seven baskets for the game, including 0-for-9 on 3-pointers.
The Demons fell behind Grand Junction, which made just 1-of-9 shots in the first quarter, but scored the first seven points of the second period to lead 10-5. Quinn Massie broke the spell of 10 unanswered Tiger points by making the second of a pair of free throws, then Taylor went to work.
Back-to-back steals in the Demon full-court press led to two baskets by Taylor to tie the score at ten and ignite a 17-0 run until halftime, when Glenwood held a 22-10 advantage. Taylor had another basket and two assists during the run, which featured Moser’s splashing in a pair of long-distance bombs in the final two minutes.
The third quarter was an ugly replay of the initial period, with the Tigers gaining a 5-2 advantage, despite making just one-of-ten shots. The Demons had eight turnovers, which limited them to just four shots, Kate Shanahan’s hook shot in the paint was the only Glenwood score with 1:46 left in the period, but was enough to maintain a 24-15 lead.
The Demon defense provided another lift with Gracie Dietrich’s steal and layup, followed by Taylor’s in-bounds pass to Dietrich for a 28-15 margin, putting out any hopes of a 4th-quarter comeback by the Tigers.
Taylor paced the Demons with nine points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals. Massie was a monster on defense, blocking 4 shots and pulling down 6 boards. Dietrich and Michelle Marshall helped counter GJ’s 6-2 Faith Buckley under the glass, with five rebounds apiece, while holding the senior scoreless.
GLENWOOD BOYS 56, GRAND JUNCTION 39
The Glenwood boys (7-3) followed the script of the girls game, with a 21-6 second quarter overcoming a sluggish 8-6 first-period lead for a 29-12 halftime margin.
The Demons scored the first 14 points after a 6-turnover, 2-for-10 shooting start to the game.
Four different Demons scored in Glenwood’s first five possessions of the second quarter, and then Patrick Young took over, putting in a follow-shot to cap the 14-0 run, driving for a basket after the Tigers finally made a free throw, then making it seven straight points with a 3-pointer. John Iule also had a 3-pointer and a pair of assists.
The momentum did not continue after halftime as the Demons made just one of their first seven shots, Grand Junction outscoring the visitors 11-2 to close within eight points, 31-23 with 3:20 left in the third.
Will Narvaez broke a 3:30 scoreless stretch, and Young and Mitchell Burt also scored to keep the double-digit lead, 27-26 into the fourth period.
Burt’s 3-pointer kicked the lead to 16, but Grand Junction trimmed it to 9 with a 7-0 run leading to a Glenwood timeout with 2:51 left in the game. The Demon defense stepped up with AJ Adams and Young each forcing errant shots or turnovers and Iuele connected with Narvaez and Adams on assists and turned a steal into a layup for a 7-0 answer that sealed the victory.
The senior floor-leader, dubbed the “I-man” by broadcaster Ron Milhorn, also made 4-of-6 freethrows in the final minute to lead all scorers with 17. Young had his second consecutive double-digit scoring game with 11, adding 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 4 steals. Narvaez had 9 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 blocks as he and Adams dominated the defensive glass. Adams scored 7 and pulled down 7 boards.
The Demons open defense of their (shared) league title on Tuesday when they host Summit (4-5, 1-0), which defeated Palisade, 58-47, in its WSL opener.