Bulldogs fall to Fountain-Fort Carson

Palisade’s Jesus Aguirre tries to take a shot over a quartet of blocking hands belonging to Fountain-Fort Carson defenders Friday in the Warrior Challenge basketball tournament at Central High School. Palisade lost 48-45.

Palisade made a run, but it wasn’t enough.

Fountain-Fort Carson held on to defeat Palisade 48-45 in the Warrior Challenge boys basketball tournament on Friday at Central High School.

“We played hard, we just gave up too many layups at times,” Palisade coach Brian Tafel said. “Credit to Fountain-Fort Carson, the Davis brothers are good players. (Al Davis) is really tough to keep out of the paint. The difference was limiting his ability to score. He got in the paint and made some tough shots.”

Davis led the Trojans (1-1) with 13 points.

Luke McLean led Palisade 
(0-2) with 11 points. Jesus Aguirre added 10.

The Bulldogs opened the third quarter with a 7-2 run to get within a basket, but Fountain-Fort Carson answered with a 9-0 run to taka a 39-28 lead with 35 seconds left in the third quarter.

Palisade chipped away at the Trojans’ lead.

Tass Crow hit a 3-pointer to open the fourth quarter and nailed another one with 1:46 left to get the Bulldogs within three. Crow scored eight points all in the fourth quarter.

Caden Woods scored to cut the Trojans lead to one, but Cameron Hacker hit a pair of free throws to seal the victory.

Grand Junction 68, Legacy 45: The story of how Grand Junction coach Dutch Johnson got into coaching is fairly normal. His father and older brother coached him when he was young, and with a passion for the game, coaching seemed like a natural fit.

It’s rare that two brothers face off in opposite coaching boxes, but in what was dubbed “The Battle of the Brothers” at the Warrior Challenge, Dutch Johnson was able to score a win against his older brother, Legacy coach Gunnar Johnson.

“It’s pretty special to get to coach a game against (Gunnar),” Dutch said. “Him and my father are the reason I got into coaching in the first place, and this is the first time we’ve gotten to go up against each other.”

Despite a slow start when the Tigers sent Legacy to the line three times in two minutes, a mix of ball movement and Broderick Robinson allowed Grand Junction to pull away.

Robinson drained the first 3-pointer of the game and went 3 for 3 the floor added two free throws in the first quarter. Robinson finished with a team-high 13 points and didn’t miss a shot until halfway through the second quarter. The Tigers moved the ball inside against Legacy by over-rotating its zone and then dumping the ball to the opposite post.

“I thought we came out really flat,” Dutch Johnson said. “In the first quarter we came out of the locker room and didn’t execute the things we wanted. That was frustrating. But we made some shots and our bench was really good today.”

Grand Junction started the second quarter with an 8-0 run, and led by double digits for the rest of the game.

The Tigers’ final game of the Warrior Challenge gives them more of a vertical challenge. The top-ranked Class 4A team in the state, Lewis-Palmer, can match Grand Junction’s height, and is arguably the best team in the tournament.

“It’s a tough match-up for us,” Johnson said. “They’re big, have a couple 6-foot-6 kids that can work us inside and outside. It’s going to present a type of match-up we aren’t used to this year.”

Fruita Monument 62, Lewis-Palmer 31: The Wildcats fell victim to the size and skill of Lewis-Palmer.

Lewis-Palmer seniors Jordan Scott and Justin Smith combined for 25 points and the Rangers beat Fruita on the glass, scoring 24 second-chance points.

“We knew coming in that this was a good team with two D-1 players,” Fruita coach Billy Dreher said. “We knew they were going to trap a lot. In the first quarter they didn’t do it so much and we hung around. Then in the second quarter they ramped it up. We need to be able to pass out of that first trap.”

Chase Stone led Lewis-Palmer with 20 points, and drained five 3-pointers in a row during the second and third quarters. Fruita was held to single digits until halfway through the third quarter.

Spencer Fair led the Wildcats with 11 points and had his first extended time on the court after missing a large portion of his season opener with foul trouble.

“We have to figure out where we’re going to use (Spencer),” Dreher said. “He needs to understand the situations we’re going to use him, whether it’s on the wing or in the post. Obviously we have to get him some touches. He had some flashes in the second half, but they didn’t have their main guys in during the second half.”


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