Putting it all together: Palisade girls play complete game in win over Devils
The Palisade High School girls basketball team completed a goal it’s been working on all season.
Saturday against Eagle Valley, the Bulldogs played four complete quarters in a 49-36 victory.
“In the past we’ve had games where we had two or three good quarters but didn’t get it done in the fourth,” Palisade coach Toni Gunther said. “We’ve seen a difference these last three games, and they are starting to figure out what it takes for four quarters.”
After dropping five straight games, the Bulldogs (7-11, 2-5 Western Slope League) won all three games last week — defeating Grand Valley on Tuesday and Battle Mountain on Friday.
The strong week came after back-to-back home losses to Steamboat Springs and Moffat County last weekend.
“Against Steamboat Springs, we recognized some very specific things we needed to work on in our game,” Gunther said. “We needed to earn points for four quarters and take care of the ball.”
The two teams played a competitive first quarter Saturday, with the Bulldogs holding a 12-10 lead.
Palisade began to distance itself in the second quarter, led by balanced scoring from five different players. Kailie Wallace gave the Bulldogs a 23-15 lead before Eagle Valley’s Jasmine Garvin cut the halftime lead to 23-18 with free throws.
“We talked about needing scoring from a few different people,” Gunther said. “We are a tough team to stop when that happens.”
Eagle Valley made a run in the third quarter to cut the lead to 29-26 on Amanda Morgan’s 3-pointer. Palisade’s Hannah Talbott answered back with an inside bucket and free throw to push the Bulldogs’ lead back to six at 32-26.
The Devils made another run midway through the fourth quarter to get within three at 37-34 with five minutes left. Kendra Barnes gave Palisade some breathing room a few minutes later with back-to-back scores to push the lead to 41-34. Olevia Shafer put the game away with a fast-break layup that gave Palisade a 45-35 advantage with 1:45 remaining.
Barnes led the way with 16 points and 14 rebounds. Wallace finished with 11 points and Shafer added 10.
“It feels good to win,” Barnes said. “We’ve come a long ways, and are playing so much like a team now.”
Gunther said a big reason for the Bulldogs closing in the fourth quarter was hanging on to the ball.
“Having two turnovers in the fourth was the difference,” Gunther said. “It’s been a great team effort and it’s starting to click.”