Blue-collar win: Led by Goffs old-school jumper, Fruita gets past Durango
Steve Goff dusted off a maneuver that’s seldom used in high school basketball.
Tuesday night against Durango, the Fruita Monument High School boys basketball player made mid-range jump shot after mid-range jump shot, finishing with a game-high 20 points, in the Wildcats’ 57-48 win over the Demons.
“The mid-range is very important, and that’s where I make a living,” Goff said. “We have other guys that can shoot the 3, so the mid-range is my place.” Goff’s hot-shooting performance came one night after scoring only four points against Cortez.
The Wildcats’ senior was discouraged after Monday’s game, but a pep talk from coach Dave Fox help turn Goff’s confidence around.
“Last night he didn’t shoot well,” Fox said. “So I told him before the game I said ‘Steve I have faith you are going to shoot well, and you have (faith) also, and just be aggressive.’ “
Goff spread out his scoring, had a few nice drives to the hoop, but made his mark with the smooth jump shot. Fox said Goff’s ability is important to the Wildcats’ success, and it suits Goff well.
“If you took a bunch of 10-year-olds and gave them a basketball, they’d all walk to the 3-point line,” Fox said. “It’s not a glamorous shot, it’s not a dunk, it’s not a 3, so it’s one of those blue-collar shots, and Steve’s a blue-collar guy.”
For the second straight night, the Wildcats (10-8, 5-0 Southwestern League) began the game by holding their opponent to single digits in the first quarter, leading 10-3 after the first. In the second, Durango was able to generate some offense, led by Gustavo Zavala’s six points. Fruita held onto its lead, and finished out the first half with Drew Bridges converting a three-point play to take a 24-17 lead.
The Wildcats fended off the Demons in the fourth by going 12 for 12 from the free-throw line.
“Here’s the funny thing about the free throws, we haven’t practiced since last Thursday so that wipes out everything you think about having to shoot lots of them,” Fox said with a grin. “It’s just about going up there with confidence, and I think we shot with a lot of confidence.”
Bridges added 15 points for the Wildcats and TJ Pollock finished with 12.
The Wildcats finished the first half of their league season undefeated, but now play at Cortez and Durango this weekend.
“We are very excited because last year we won only one conference game,” Goff said. “Our goal was to win the SWL, and I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but we just have to ride the wave.“CENTRAL 52, CORTEZ 44
The Warriors (7-11, 1-4 SWL) earned their first league win by taking care of the Panthers at Brownson Arena.
“The guys responded well,” Central coach Phil Cain said. “We need anything right now to get our confidence going.”
Central found itself behind early, trailing 13-10 after the first quarter. But the Warriors came alive, led by Taylor Sanchez’s nine second-quarter points.
Sanchez finished with a team-high 18 points.
“Taylor had a very good first half,” Cain said. “We played much better as a team.”
Central led 32-22 at halftime and used the cushion to close out the game.
Vandon Sanchez finished with 15 points and Josh Wells added 14 for the Warriors.