Bulldogs take possession of league lead
Jesus Aguirre had 18 points and, in the final minute at Palisade on Thursday, he grabbed three offensive rebounds and drew a charge as the Palisade boys basketball team took sole possession of the Class 4A Western Slope League lead with a 59-52 win over Eagle Valley.
After a three-point play by Ayren Hart of Eagle Valley (11-3, 7-2), the Devils trailed 54-49 with 1 minute, 32 seconds remaining.
That’s when Aguirre strung together his charge and offensive rebounds off missed free throws by Palisade (10-4, 8-1).
“I just wanted to do everything I could to stop them from scoring,” Aguirre said.
Added Palisade coach Brian Tafel: “I told him in the locker room, ‘That’s what seniors do in big games, step up and play,’ and that’s what he did.”
Also for Palisade, Caden Woods had eight points.
Tafel matched guard Skyler Miller against Eagle Valley 6-foot-3 guard Samuel Lounsberry, who scored 12 points. Tafel considers Lounsberry one of the best offensive guards in the league.
“I thought Skyler did a heck of a job on him,” Tafel said.
But Tafel wants Palisade, which plays at Battle Mountain at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, to improve in many areas, particularly its free-throw shooting. Palisade was 3 of 12 from the line.
Hence, the need for Aguirre’s late offensive-rebounding heroics.
“We set our tempo in the first half, and I think that was a big key,” Tafel said. “I thought we needed to get easy baskets in transition running the floor, so we tried to get up and down a bit, and we were able to do that.”
Eagle Valley took a 24-9 lead at the half and defeated Palisade 40-27 in 4A Western Slope League basketball.
Cruz Maestas led Palisade (6-8, 5-4 league) with 12 points.
Megan Asmussen and Mariel Gutierrez led Eagle Valley (10-4, 6-3), scoring nine points apiece.
Rifle 70, Glenwood Springs 63, 2 OT: Joey Kuheim and Chante Church scored 22 and 21 points, respectively, for Rifle, which outscored the Demons 8-1 in the second overtime. Delaney Gaddis had 23 points for Glenwood Springs.
Rowdy Allen, Tonka Little-Fawn and Kyle Martinez had pins to lead Central to a 38-36 victory over Montrose on Thursday.
Caleb Hendricks and Soloman Jarman claimed major decisions for the Warriors and Jacob Rubalcaba and Dusty Sanchez won by decision.
Sanchez’s victory over Ian Sandoval clinched the win for the Warriors.
Montrose heavyweight Jesus Casillas, 106-pounder Terrell Banuelos, 113-pounder Emmanuel Sandoval, 138-pounder Matt Sandoval and 152-pounder Joe Sandoval had pins. Marcus Velasquez won by forfeit at 160.
Paonia 54, Rifle 22: Ty Coats, Zach Milner, Jorge Quinonez, Tyler Kendall, Joel Simianer and Tony Darling each had pins to lead the Class 2A No. 1-ranked Eagles in the victory at Colorado Mesa’s Brownson Arena.
Coats avenged a loss from more than a season ago and pinned Hugo Ruelas in 2:41 at 145 pounds.
“I was a little nervous,” Coats said. “Once we got to the second period, I knew it would be a good match. I’ve gotten better on my feet.”
Paonia’s Jesse Reed defeated Oscar Ruelas 7-1 at 120, and Bo Pipher won a 2-0 decision over Isaac Rider in a matchup of two ranked wrestlers at 126.
Rifle had four wins, including pins by Tony Galaviz and Clayton Coombs.