GRAND JUNCTION (1/19/15) – A torch was passed in the first round of the 4A Western Slope girls district basketball tournament Thursday. With Glenwood Springs senior, and likely player-of-the-year, Madi Spence watching from the bench after fouling out, Rifle sophomore Samantha Hinkle scored nine points in a 14-0 overtime blitz that sends the third-seeded Demons(16-5) home for the weekend, and perhaps the season, 44-30. Meanwhile, the sixth seeded Bears(13-8) advance to meet WSL champion and second seeded Palisade(19-2) at 3 p.m. at Colorado Mesa University on Friday.

After a slow start, the number one seeded Glenwood Springs boys (18-3) advanced to the second round with a 52-41 win over Summit(5-16). The Demons will meet number four Durango (10-12), which defeated the Rifle Bears, 44-33 at 7:30 Friday at Colorado Mesa University.


The Lady Demons, who start five seniors, could get an at-large state playoff bid, but will have to await Sunday’s seeding from CHSAA as their first-round upset cost them one of the four automatic WSL spots. The Lady Bears, who now have qualified for the state tournament, trailed all game until a Jessie Pressler jumper tied the score at 24 with 4:25 to go in the fourth quarter.

Glenwood, which took a 5 point lead on a jumper by Hailey Armstrong 55 seconds into the fourth period, would go scoreless for nearly six minutes while Rifle took its first lead 26-24 on a running shot in the lane by Tori Pressler. The Demons’ regained the advantage on a strange play with 40 seconds left as several players rolled around on the floor following Glenwood’s eighth missed 3-pointer in nine attempts to that point in the game. Spence finally reached down and grabbed the elusive ball and banked in a shot, but Rifle’s freshman scoring leader Elly Walters, who had been without a basket in the first half by Glenwood’s Jaime Crowley and Makena Warren, scored on a drive with Spence picking up her fifth foul with 23 seconds left.

Walters missed the chance to put the Bears in front but got her own rebound and was fouled again, making the second shot for a 29-28 lead. After a DeCrow miss, Walters was fouled again, making the first with seven seconds to go, but Bella Diaz rebounded her second attempt and fired downcourt where a driving Armstrong tied the game just before the buzzer.

The goose-egg overtime began for Glenwood with three missed free throws, leaving the Demons 3-for-12 for the game. During that stretch Hinkle made 3-of-4 from the line, then scored the next 6 points on a pass from Walters, a drive to the hoop, and a put back that gave Rifle a 39-30 lead with 1:05 to go in overtime, giving the Bears their first win over Glenwood in three tries this season.

Hinkle, who became eligible midway through the season after transferring from Grand Valley, scored 19 with 7 rebounds to lead all scorers. Walters, who was 2-for-7 on 3-point attempts, tallied 15 for the Bears. Spence led the Demons with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Armstrong scored 8 and grabbed 11 boards for Glenwood.

In other girls’ tournament action, Palisade advanced with a 43-37 win over Delta. Number-one seed Montrose(16-4) dominated Summit(6-15) 59-19. Number four Durango(15-6) defeated Eagle Valley(15-6) 46-38, setting up a rematch of those 5A Southwest League rivals, who dropped down a level for the districts.

The Glenwood boys trailed 7-2 midway through the first quarter at Colorado Mesa University, but went ahead 11-9 by the end of the period, then led by Cam Horning’s 8 second-quarter points, drilled Summit 18-5 to go ahead 29-14 by halftime.

The Tigers’ Thomas DeBonville, a 5-10 senior who missed the first two losses against Glenwood with an ankle injury, rained in two of his five 3-pointers for the game in the third quarter, closing the gap to 32-23, but a couple of drives, including an incredible spinning layup, by Horning and two inside baskets by Will Gray repulsed the threat. Glenwood led 42-27 going into the final frame.

Horning led the Demons with 20 points, supported by Gray’s 12. DeBonville finished with 20 for the Tigers.
The win gives Glenwood one of the Western Slope League’s fourth state playoff spots, as they advance to the semi-final game with Durango.

#4 DURANGO(10-12) 44, #5 RIFLE BOYS(12-9) 33@ Palisade High School
In a game played at a deliberate pace, a pair of 3-point baskets by Durango’s Lucas Baken in the third quarter when the Demons doubled a 7-point halftime lead – was too much for the Rifle Bears, who bowed out of the tournament in a 44-33 first-round loss at Palisade High School.

The Bears(12-10) trailed just 7-5 after one period and 16-9 at halftime, but the Demons hit 3-of-6 from beyond the arc in the third and led 31-21 going into the last period. Morgan Robinson made two 3-pointers to pull Rifle within seven with 2:31 remaining, but the Bears wouldn’t score again as Durango made 4-of-6 from the line to sew up one of the four Western Slope boys state playoff spots.

Austin Boone led all scorers with 12 points, Robinson adding 11. Lucas Baken paced the Demons with nine.