Bridges takes control for Fruita

Fruita Monument’s game plan took a sharp turn Saturday at halftime. Durango hung within six points, shot 6 of 14 from deep and was taking advantage of a lack of defensive pressure.

After the break, though, the Wildcats (18-3, 7-1 Southwestern League) went on a 12-0 run and cruised to a 63-45 victory.

Typically, halftime adjustments come from the coach. But in the locker room, the motivating speech came from an unlikely source — Drew Bridges.

“(Bridges) really challenged the team at halftime,” coach Dave Fox said. “He told them, ‘This isn’t like last night. That we’re not closing out on shooters like we’ve been taught and we need to play harder.’ “

“I give him all the credit because he wasn’t going to let us lose and that shows what a wonderful player he is. He wanted the ball, was scoring inside, had a phenomenal game and I’m really glad he’s on my side.”

Bridges led the Wildcats with 22 points, 16 in the second half. He also grabbed 14 rebounds and blocked three shots.

Alex Padgett also had a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Joe Keresey led Durango with 15 points. 

Durango (12-10, 4-5 ) converted only 2 of 4 from the 3-point line in the second half, had 13 turnovers and fell victim to “Fruita Monument basketball.”

That style, Fox said, incorporates solid rebounding, quick outlet passes and selfless play.

“Coach always preaches ‘Get the rebound and run,’ ” Cody Daniels said. “Rebound and run, get the ball to the middle and go. Easy points in transition. That’s Fruita Monument basketball.”

Recently, it’s been Daniels who has led that style of play. Daniels had six assists, a season-high 14 points, and solved up Durango’s 2-3 zone with his penetration.

“He is probably one of our best two defenders and he manages our offense well,” Fox said. “The last three games he has played so well, and when he is on, it makes us so much better.”

Palisade 68, Moffat County 48: After scoring two points in the third quarter, Palisade put up 32 in the fourth to down Moffat County.

Kane Gunther scored 21 points and Luke McLean added 10 for Palisade. Eleven players scored for the Bulldogs.

After Gunther left the game in the fourth quarter because of blood on his jersey, Daniel Ness entered and hit 5 of 5 free throws, finishing with five points.

“He ran the point, settled everything down,” Palisade coach Steve Phillips said of Ness.

Grand Junction 56, Montezuma-Cortez 37: The host Tigers (12-8, 5-3 Southwestern League) led 26-12 at halftime and easily put the game away.

Plateau Valley 83, Rangely 67: Doug Eberhard had 34 points and Teddy Grundy 29 for Plateau Valley (11-4, 6-2 WSL).


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