Demons rally, take advantage of ‘Cat collapse

The Fruita Monument High School boys basketball team had the situation it wanted on Saturday.

The Wildcats led visiting Durango by four points with 2:45 remaining and had possession of the ball.

At that point, things went south, as the Demons scored the game’s final eight points to take a 44-40 victory.

In between the first six minutes and the final three, Fruita Monument (5-13, 1-6 Southwestern League) played solid.

The Wildcats retook the lead in the see-saw game early in the fourth quarter. Baskets by Brett Nankervis and Alex Mende, the latter on a steal and coast-to-coast layup, put them ahead 40-36 with 3:53 remaining.

A turnover gave Fruita Monument the ball back. Then it gave the ball right back on offensive foul by Nankervis, his fifth, which forced him to the bench.

The Demons (5-10, 2-5) took advantage with Loren Doughty scoring five of his game-high 22 points during a 1-minute, 32-second span.

The Wildcats had four chances in the final 21/2 minutes to close the gap, but missed on all four. Forced to foul, they put the Demons on the line, with Jordan Gillen hitting one free throw and Doughty two more.

“Probably the most pressure is in the first (few) minutes of the game and last part, and we didn’t handle it,” Wildcats coach Dave Fox said.

Another factor was turnovers. Half of the Wildcats’ 14 turnovers came in the final quarter.

“You can’t get seven turnovers in the fourth quarter in a game like that and expect to win,” said Wildcats senior wing Chance Muller, who had 12 points. “That’s one of the things
we’ve got to fix.”

In a 42-31 loss to Montezuma-Cortez on Friday, Fruita Monument struggled to make anything from the outside. The perimeter game contributed a little more on Saturday. In addition to Muller, Drew Bridges scored eight points.

“If there was any good in it, I finally got a shot to fall,” said Muller, who was held scoreless in Friday’s game.

As with Fruita Monument, Durango has spent much of the season looking for an outside presence.

“We’ve struggled with our shooting, which requires us to put all the pressure on Loren Doughty,” Demons coach Tom Dunne said. “He stepped up.”

In addition to his scoring, Doughty grabbed nine rebounds.

Fox couldn’t fault one aspect of his team’s game.

“You can’t argue with the effort on the defensive end,” he said, which forced Durango into 17-of-42 shooting.

Another plus, he said, is that his younger players are getting some quality game time.

As for Dunne, “When you can split on the road (in the SWL), it’s a good thing,” he said.

The Demons lost at Central on Friday.

Fruita Monument plays host to Central this Friday.


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