Big victory cures insomnia for Wildcats

Big victory cures insomnia for Wildcats

Fruita Monument’s James Lewis is fouled by Eagle Valley’s Samuel Boyd as he rises to the basket Tuesday during the Wildcats’ 69-40 win over the Devils. Fruita Monument (9-2) plays Grand Junction on Friday.

Anticipating his first home game just before midnight on Monday, the senior sent his coach a text message: “I can’t sleep, Coach.”

Coach replied: “Me either.”

On Tuesday night, the authors of those texts — Fruita Monument’s Alex Padgett and Wildcats coach Dave Fox — could finally release their nervous tension in a 69-40 win over Eagle Valley.

Padgett had 17 points for Fruita Monument (9-2), which will head to Grand Junction on Friday for the teams’ 7 p.m. Southwestern League opener.

Drew Bridges led the Wildcats with 18 points.

Eagle Valley (7-4) was without starting guard Jeremy Sabo.

“He’s one of the top five players in the 4A Western Slope League,” Eagle Valley coach Brent McConaghy said.

The Devils could have used him.

By midway into the third quarter, Padgett was carving out highlights. The 6-foot-3 senior took a few dribbles into the key, and, facing the bleachers, jumped to shoot, then in mid-air dropped the ball to his waist and roped a behind-the-back pass under the basket to Bridges for a reverse layup.

Fruita led 41-23 after the play.

“It’s fun playing at home,” Padgett said.

Fruita hadn’t played a game since Dec. 17.

“The kids were sick of practice; I was sick of practice,” Fox said. “Practices are fun, but at some point you’ve got to have a game.”

The Wildcats are tuned up for their Friday game at Grand Junction.

Padgett will have a sort of homecoming. He played for the Tigers as a freshman before switching schools. “It’ll be fun,” Padgett said. “They like to chant ‘traitor’ when I’m at the free-throw line.”

Padgett likely will lose sleep for that one as well.

Palisade 53, Delta 49: Kane Gunther hit a pull-up jumper with 2.3 seconds remaining to lift the Bulldogs to their ninth consecutive victory at Delta.

Palisade (9-2, 2-0 Class 4A Western Slope League) also had 10 points from Jesus Aguirre.

“I don’t think anybody led by more than four at any time,” Palisade coach Steve Phillips said. “I felt like Delta is always real good at home and well-coached. That was a huge win.”

Chris Black, Jacob Ames, E.J. Baier and Colin Fraser all had nine points for Delta (7-5, 1-2).


Delta 65, Palisade 33: Delta (10-2, 3-0 Class 4A Western Slope League) outscored Palisade 22-4 in the second quarter to tothe Bulldogs.

Palisade (4-7, 1-1) led 12-8 after the first quarter.

“I thought we had a really strong first quarter against a great team,” Palisade coach Toni Gunther said. “Our defensive strategy was working but they found a way to transition.”


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