Windsor wipes away dream of state title for Glenwood Springs girls basketball |

Windsor wipes away dream of state title for Glenwood Springs girls basketball

Matt Meyer
Special to the Glenwood Springs Post Independent
Glenwood Springs' Joslyn Spires tries to initiate the fast break during the Class 5A girls basketball semifinals on Thursday, March 9, 2023, against Windsor in Denver.
Dan Mohrmann/

DENVER — Beneath the bright lights and deep seats of the Denver Coliseum on Thursday evening, five seniors for the Glenwood Springs girls basketball team took the floor together for the final time. 

The Demons hung around in the first half of their Final 4 matchup against Windsor, but the Wizards blew the game open in the third quarter and cruised to a 65-35 victory. 

Glenwood Springs coach Rhonda Moser said despite the disappointment and tears following the defeat, she’s proud of what her team accomplished not only as athletes, but also as people. 

“They’ve been absolutely instrumental on and off the court,” Moser said. “Incredible kids. You couldn’t ask for kids to work any harder. Tonight was not our night, for sure, and it’s a tough one to end on. I know we’re better than how we just played. It’s going to take some time to absorb that one.”

The No. 4 Wizards (20-7) advance to the Class 5A state championship game, their third consecutive trip to the title contest. Last season, the Wizards were runners-up in 4A, boasting a 26-0 record until they lost to Mullen in the state championship game. They also reached the championship game during the COVID-shortened 2020-21 season, again falling to Mullen.

For the No. 8 Demons (19-8), meanwhile, it was the end of a run through the bracket that saw them knock off top-seeded George Washington 48-41 during the Elite 8. Glenwood was also 5A Western Slope League champions during its inaugural season, which along the way saw Moser secure her 100th career victory

“They did some incredible things,” Moser said of the team. “I’m super proud of the season as a whole. I’m disappointed we didn’t compete tonight, because it’s one thing to compete and lose, and this is something that’s going to be tough for them. But what they’ve been able to do for this program is amazing. They got a taste of the state tournament their freshmen year and each year they’ve gotten a little bit better.”  

Early scoring spurts during the first two quarters buoyed the Demons despite shortcomings in other areas. Senior Joslyn Spires splashed down from 3-point range during Glenwood Springs’ first possession of the evening and fellow senior Ruby Patch followed that up with another shot from deep to give the Demons’ a 6-2 lead. 

But after that, turnovers and second-chance points allowed the Wizards to take a double-digit lead. Glenwood surrendered six offensive rebounds — which led directly to eight points — and committed four turnovers, handing Windsor a 22-12 advantage at the first break.

The Demons opened the second quarter with a 5-0 run to cut the lead in half, but Windsor entered the bonus with seven minutes until halftime and built back its edge at the free-throw line, going 6 for 6 in that stretch. By the time the teams returned to the locker rooms, the Wizards were up 35-22. 

The Demons started the third quarter with a three-minute scoring drought where Windsor stretched its lead to 18 points. By the time Glenwood found some traction with increased defensive pressure, Spires picked up her fourth foul with 1:53 left in the third quarter and the offense stalled again. Windsor pushed the score to 49-24 at the final intermission. The Wizards finished with 17 steals and 14 offensive rebounds, part of the rebounding total that saw Windsor double up Glenwood 40-20. 

Senior Tori Taylor led the Demons with 13 points while Spires finished with 10 points. The Demons shot 29.3% from the field and 46.7% from the charity stripe.  

“Reaching the Final 4 for us was a huge accomplishment,” Moser said. “Right now, they’re going to hang their heads a little bit, but long-term, they’re going to be super proud of what they did.” 

Grand Valley girls fall in 3A quarterfinals

The Vanguard School handed the Grand Valley High School girls basketball team a 75-61 Class 3A state quarterfinal loss Thursday in Denver to end the Cardinals bid for a state championship.

Playing at the University of Denver’s Hamilton Gym, the Cardinals, seeded 13th in the original 32-team field, came up against the No. 5 Coursers. Grand Valley, which finished fourth in last year’s state tournament, dug an early hole but was never completely out of it.

Down 25-16 midway through the second quarter, the Cardinals managed to pull within four points, 34-30 with under two minutes to play in the half. But by the time the buzzer sounded, Vanguard had built the lead back to nine, 39-30.

The Coursers came out hot in the third quarter, building a 15-point lead, which Grand Valley could never overcome. The Cardinals pulled to within nine points behind key baskets from senior AbbyRose Parker and junior Jaycee Pittman, who would finish with 26 and 25 points, respectively.

Vanguard senior point guard Hailey Blanchard was too much to handle, pouring in 36 points, including five 3-pointers and connecting for seven of eight free-throw attempts down the stretch.

The Coursers, now at 20-5, move on to face No. 9 Ellicott in Friday’s semifinals.

Grand Valley concludes the season at 18-7. It was the final game in a Cardinals jersey for Parker as the lone senior on this year’s Grand Valley team.

— John Stroud, Glenwood Springs Post Independent