Demons get early jump in Western Slope
GYPSUM — Early advantage, Glenwood Springs girls basketball.
The Demons opened 2015 with a 42-31 victory over Eagle Valley on Tuesday night in Gypsum in a matchup of 2-0 4A Western Slope teams.
The Demons, the defending 4A Slope champs, moved to 7-2 overall and 3-0 in the league.
“It feels great,” said Demons senior Hailey Armstrong, who was clutch late from the line. “We have expectations for ourselves set pretty high, so it feels good to meet them.”
Both teams struggled with offense early.
“I think everything was just a half-a-second off,” Glenwood coach Jacky Gaddis said. “I think that was the same for Eagle as it was for us. We had to come back in second day and, boom, at Eagle Valley. Happy New Year.”
Nonetheless, the Demons switched up their defense from a 2-3 zone to a man-to-man between the first and second quarters. Glenwood trailed 11-7 after eight minutes and went into the break up 19-13.
Eagle Valley was getting the shots it wanted, but …
“We missed 20 shots from the paint tonight,” Devils coach Sam Bartlett said. “… We’ve got a group of dedicated girls and we had good numbers over the break. They worked hard and practiced well. I think the nerves got to them tonight. They were ready.”
Despite those struggles, the Devils (7-2, 2-1) made it a close game in the fourth quarter with a layup from Kylie Martin and a jumper from Taylor Martin. Clinging to a 29-27 lead, Armstrong had a 3-point play followed by a shot from way downtown from Jordan DeCrow to restore the Glenwood lead to 35-27 with 5:21 to go.
On that 3-pointer, Glenwood broke the Devils’ full-court press.
“We’re lucky in that we’ve got forwards and posts who are decent ball-handlers,” Gaddis said.
Armstrong and Madi Spence led the Demons with 12 points each. Kylie Martin topped Eagle Valley with 16.
Demons turn back Devils boys
There is no easy in the Western Slope, and Glenwood Springs boys basketball learned that on Tuesday night in Gypsum.
The visiting Demons got out of town with a 68-44 win at Eagle Valley, but it was a fight.
“I thought we did OK,” Demons coach Corey Hitchcock said. “We were a little sloppy. We fouled a lot and put them on the free-throw line a lot. They must have had 20 points from the free-throw line. I think that the first game back from break we were a little sloppy. We’ve got to clean it up before Battle Mountain on Friday.”
The two teams were tied at 26 before Glenwood’s Cameron Horning canned a 3 with 15 seconds left in the half.
The Demons opened the third quarter with a 13-4 run to put some distance between themselves and the Devils. Horning had the put-back to start the decisive sequence. Zack Peterson followed with a slick jumper. Horning and Will Grey scored on consecutive possessions and Brian Burbidge jarred a 3 with 2:45 left in the third for a 40-30 Glenwood advantage.
The Demons (6-3, 3-0) led 46-33 after three quarters and never looked back.
Eagle Valley fell to 0-9 and 0-3 but can continue to build on the fact that it was competitive against one of the better teams the Slope has to offer.
“I think we’re making progress, you bet,” Devils coach Jim Bair said. “I’m proud of them. You can’t ask much more than that; they hung in there. We’re definitely under-experienced. Learning can be tough, but our guys are making progress.”
Horning led all scorers with 19 points, while Slater Sabo paced the Devils with 12.
As evidenced by the large Battle Mountain contingent in Gypsum watching Tuesday’s games, Glenwood Springs will host the Huskies on Friday. Meanwhile, Summit County visits Eagle Valley on Thursday.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.