GJ girls win SWL crown
Tigers win title on tiebreakers
After multiple tiebreakers, the Grand Junction High School girls basketball team is the Southwestern League champion.
Both Montrose and Grand Junction won Friday night, leaving two 9-1 teams atop the SWL.
District 51 Athletic Director Paul Cain sent an email to the media this week explaining the league tiebreaking procedure, and it came down to the third step, won-loss records against nonleague common opponents.
Grand Junction and Montrose had both played Moffat County, Delta, Olathe and Roosevelt. If teams played twice, as in the case of Grand Junction and Moffat County, only the first game counted toward the tiebreaker.
In those four games, Grand Junction went 3-1, Montrose 1-3, handing the league title to Grand Junction.
The Tigers topped Central Warriors 60-41 on Friday to secure the title as Montrose was edging Fruita Monument 33-32.
“The first thing we told the girls was that Central is a better team than the first time we played them and they were,” coach Sam Provenza said. “We said that on paper we should win, but that the game isn’t played on paper, you have to go out there and earn it.
“It got ugly at times, and it got rough and tumble, but we definitely earned it.”
Because of an ankle injury to starting point guard Sydni Brandon, star forward Jamie Derrieux had to adjust her style of play to bring the ball up the court and run the offense.
“I had forgotten how nice it was not having to play point guard,” Derrieux said. “It’s tough, we don’t fast break as much and our dynamics are different, but we’ve had all kinds of wonderful play coming off the bench.”
Provenza knew he could rely on his senior.
“Jamie’s a leader on the court, off the court, in school,” he said. “She does things right in life and that translates to the court. She knew she had to step up into that leadership role.”
Derrieux led the Tigers (19-4, 9-1 SWL) with 15 points, eight from the line. Krickett Adleman chipped in 14.
Central (6-17, 3-7 SWL) adjusted its defensive style after seeing Montrose double- and triple-team Derrieux to give Grand Junction its only conference loss, and ran a box and one for the entire first half.
The Warriors focused one defender on Derrieux while the other four defended the lane. It held Grand Junction in check for six minutes before Derrieux rattled off three assists and an NBA-range 3-pointer in quick succession.
Grand Junction, Provenza said, is expecting a No. 3 or No. 4 seed in the playoffs.
“We told them December is to figure out who we are and how we play together,” Provenza said. “January we started to understand what each of our capabilities are and getting comfortable playing together.
“February is to solidify our playoff spot and finding out how far we can go, and we did that today.”