Glenwood Springs girls basketball rolls by Denver North in 4A playoff opener
Special to the Glenwood Springs Post Independent
The Denver North Vikings endured the long drive over the snowy mountain passes on Tuesday, only to be met by a confident and determined Glenwood Springs High School girls basketball team that slapped a lopsided 88-18 defeat on the group from the Denver Prep League.
“These girls right now are very focused on what they want to try and accomplish,” Glenwood head coach Rhonda Moser said. “They are a very unselfish team, and they come into practice each day and focus in on what we are trying to teach them.”
Riding a 10-game win streak, the 19th-seeded Demons struck early and often in the opening round of the 48-team Class 4A state playoffs.
Senior forward Kenzie Winder scored on consecutive inside baskets, and junior sharpshooting guard Joslyn Spires drifted out beyond the 3-point arc to drain two shots of her own. In the blink of an eye, Glenwood was out to a 14-2 lead with 4:40 left in the first quarter.
Junior guard Breauna Sorensen, who had a breakout offensive game with three 3-pointers and 13 points for the game, hit Winder on a nifty cross-court feed to increase the Glenwood lead. Junior forward Tori Taylor scored on a putback, and sophomore guard Taia Nykerk canned a 3-pointer from deep in the corner as the Demons shifted into high gear.
What followed was a sequence on the offensive end of the court where each Glenwood player touched the ball briefly before senior guard Sophia Prieto set herself up for a wide-open 3-pointer and calmly drained the shot for a 36-6 Glenwood lead.
Senior Miah Suarez and junior Mattea Enewold got baskets in the paint for Glenwood to open the third period after the Demons had built a 55-11 lead at intermission. The Demons, with all 12 players getting significant minutes, continued to light up the scoreboard as junior guard Ruby Patch hit a basket, and freshman post Ana Shea showed her versatility by stepping out to the 3-point line and swishing the net to put Glenwood up 76-15.
Several players had big nights in the scoring column for Glenwood. Spires led the way with 15 points, including three 3-pointers. Taylor had 14 points and Sorensen, matching Spires with three treys, had 13 points. Winder got all of her 10 points in the first half, and Enewold helped the cause with eight points.
With the first-round win, Glenwood (18-6) will hit the road to Denver for a Friday night date with No. 14 seeded Skyview. The Wolverines (20-3) were champions of the 4A/3A Colorado League.
Friday night’s winner will move on to the girls’ 4A Sweet 16, to be played March 1.
“We’re all excited for Friday night,” Winder said after the game. “They (Skyview) will be some of the toughest competition we have faced all year, but we’re ready. Coach (Moser) likes to call us a well-oiled machine. We are peaking at the right time, and we’re all ready to go play this one.”
In the only other girls’ 4A playoff game involving a Garfield County team Tuesday night, Rifle bowed out with a 65-35 loss at Montrose.
The Bears conclude the season at 11-13. It was the final game for seniors Faith Trujillo and Jamie Caron.
The Glenwood Springs and Rifle boys are set to begin their 4A playoff action on Wednesday and Thursday.
3A district tournament
Coal Ridge 51, Gunnison 48
Playing on the road as the No. 5 seed against No. 4 Gunnison, the Coal Ridge boys pulled off the upset Tuesday.
The bout between the middle seeds in the eight-team district tournament stayed close through three quarters, with the score 37-36 in favor of the host Cowboys going into the fourth.
The Titans (10-10) closed it out 15-11 to take the win, advancing to Friday’s semifinals at Grand Junction Central High School to face top-seeded Aspen, 69-38 winners over No. 8 Grand Valley on Tuesday night.
Delta 72, Roaring Fork 44
The No. 7 Rams of Carbondale concluded their season Tuesday night with a loss on the road at No. 2 Delta. Roaring Fork finished at 5-15 overall. It was the final game for seniors Blake Thomas, Mason Smith, Aaron Varela, Ze Pina and TJ Metheny.
Grand Valley 87, Gunnison 32
The No. 2 Cardinals took care of business against No. 7 Gunnison, outscoring their 3A district tournament visitors 26-5 in the first period and never looking back.
Grand Valley (16-4) advances to play No. 3 Moffat County, 44-31 winners over Basalt on Tuesday night, in the Friday semifinals at Grand Junction Central.
North Fork 46, Coal Ridge 42
The No. 5 North Fork Miners stole a win at No. 4 Coal Ridge Tuesday night, booting the Titans from the district tourney.
The game was close throughout, with Coal Ridge holding a 28-27 lead after three quarters of play. The Miners went on a 19-14 tear to close out the win and advance to the semifinals.
Coal Ridge (12-6) now rests its laurels on a No. 11 state RPI ranking coming into this week, in order to make next week’s 3A state playoffs.
Delta 65, Roaring Fork 11
The eighth-seeded Roaring Fork Rams of Carbondale, meanwhile, ended their season at No. 1 Delta on Tuesday, as the Panthers rolled to victory.
Roaring Fork finishes at 4-16 on the season. It was the final game for seniors Macey Peery, Genesis Quintero, Sienna Pargiter-Walker, Samira Hueso and Gracie Pratt.
The dance team traveled this past weekend to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida, for the high school national championships, winning the intermediate varsity pom division on Sunday.