Defense leads GJ: Tigers’ speed sparks victory over Palisade

Grand Junction High School’s Fawn Brady goes up for the shot during the second half of Saturday’s game against Palisade at Fruita Monument High School.



The Grand Junction High School girls basketball team takes pride in its defense, and on Saturday, it showed.

In their final game of the Wildcat Invite at Fruita Monument High School, the Tigers’ defense allowed only 20 points in a 57-20 win over Palisade.

“Because of the speed that we have, the defense is going to be good,” Grand Junction coach Sam Provenza said. “We like to get in those passing lanes.

“We like to take chances and they’re trusting each other that if somebody takes a chance in a passing lane, someone is going to come in behind and help them out, so they’re not afraid to make a mistake.”

The pressure from Grand Junction limited Palisade to only four points in the second and third quarters combined. With every turnover the Tigers reeled in, they were able to get the ball down the court for easy fast-break points.

“We’ve got a lot of team speed in this group of kids and they know that if they do get the rebound the other team is going to end up chasing instead of getting in position and playing defense,” Provenza said.

Many of the early points came from guard Jamie Derrieux, who finished the first half with 15 of Grand Junction’s 24 points, putting in seven field goals and a free throw.

“Jamie’s game keeps getting better, and the other part of that is that the other kids looks for her,” Provenza said. “She’s finding good positions on the floor, and to everybody else’s credit, they’re finding her.”

Paula Lage added six points on two 3-pointers to give the Tigers a 24-11 lead at the half, although they had hoped for more.

“The first half I don’t think any of us felt like we played as well as we could have,” Derrieux said. “I think at halftime we really stepped up our play and we played as more of team.”

The Tigers came out with 26 points in the third quarter, blanking the Bulldogs.

Guard Fawn Brady, who had scored only four points in the Wildcat Invite prior to Saturday, scored all eight of her points in the second half.

Lage added seven points in the second half to finish with 13.

Palisade scored its final nine points in the fourth quarter, starting with a free throw by Nicole Routhier.

Kendra Barnes finished with nine points for the Bulldogs, and Meghan Peters added six.

Although the Bulldogs were handed their second straight lopsided loss, coach Toni Gunther is optimistic about the season ahead.

“We keep getting better every time we play,” she said. “I don’t think we can evaluate everything by the ending score, we just have to take away something to learn from each game.”


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