Bulldogs take care of Delta boys

Palisade boys basketball coach Steve Phillips has been exhorting his team all season to “weather the storm.”

Delta stormed the Bulldogs for 31/2 quarters Tuesday, but the skies cleared for Palisade down the stretch.

The Panthers had a chance to tie the game with 3:16 remaining, but it was all Palisade down the stretch as the Bulldogs took a 62-53 victory.

Palisade (5-17, 5-8 Western Slope League) led by 11 points in the third quarter before Delta chipped away at the lead and tied the game three times in the fourth quarter.

That’s when Palisade began using the free-throw line to its advantage.

The Bulldogs went to the line 19 times in the final quarter, converting 11.

“We answered the run,” Phillips said. “At the first of the year they weren’t doing that.”

Delta’s run was based primarily on its full-court press, which forced 11 turnovers before
Palisade could answer the call.

“You’ve got to give Delta credit,” Phillips said.

Things went south for the Panthers from the field after they had tied the game 42-42 with 5:17 remaining. Delta (8-10, 6-7 WSL) missed its last nine shots from the floorTuesday night’s victory was nearly a carbon copy of Palisade’s 62-50 victory over Battle Mountain a week earlier. The Bulldogs had to use a late run in both games to pull away.

“I really think we matured as a team (in the Battle Mountain game),” Bulldogs senior forward Rylie Josey said. “We learned how to win close games (and) deal with the pressure.”

Jake Edmiston led Palisade with 14 points and had six rebounds. Josey and Jeremy Hayden each added 13 points and did a solid job on the boards, both grabbing 10 rebounds.

Palisade finishes the regular season Friday at Rifle.

“We figured in our last four or five games, every game out was a playoff game,” Josey said.

Having won three straight, the Bulldogs are playing as if their season counts on it.

Montrose 71, FRUITA MONUMENT 60

Fruita Monument put together a valiant comeback but couldn’t overcome a big first-half deficit and lost in Montrose.

“We were able to come back and tie the game in the second half,” Fruita coach Dave Fox said.

“The kids didn’t give up and gave us a chance to win.”

The Wildcats trailed by 15 at halftime and outscored the Indians 21-10 in third quarter but lost it late.

Alex Mende had a big game, finishing with 26 points for the Wildcats. Montrose was led by Nathan Robertson’s 23 points.

Fruita will finish its regular season Friday at Grand Junction.


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