Bulldogs top Eagle Valley, lock down WSL title
Aguirre and McLean lead the way down the stretch
Palisade got important baskets from Jesus Aguirre and Luke McLean down the stretch to defeat Eagle Valley 43-38 and clinch the 4A Western Slope League boys basketball championship Friday night.
Bulldogs coach Brian Tafel said the league title is Palisade’s first in boys basketball since 1996.
“We’re very, very excited,” said Tafel, whose squad knocked off the second-place Devils on the road. “Obviously I’m very proud of our guys. They played their tails off tonight.
“We had a great defensive effort by everybody. One of their leading scorers, (Sam) Lounsberry, didn’t score tonight.”
Aguirre, who led the Bulldogs with 15 points, scored a basket on a set play after a timeout to put Palisade ahead by one point with about 3½ minutes left. Then, on the Bulldogs’ next possession, McLean hit his third 3-pointer of the night to give Palisade a four-point cushion.
The Bulldogs (13-5, 11-2 WSL) made their free throws from there, including a 6-for-6 effort from Aguirre in the final quarter, and the Devils (13-5, 9-4) got no closer the rest of the way.
“All night he played well offensively,” Tafel said of Aguirre. “And McLean, he had that big 3-pointer in the fourth quarter. ... He stepped up big with three 3-pointers.”
Grand Junction 69, Montezuma-Cortez 50: Broderick Robinson scored 25 points, and Greg Eccher added 20 for the Southwestern League-leading Tigers (14-5, 6-1). Robinson was 11 of 12 from the free-throw line and Eccher drained four 3-pointers.
Grand Junction pulled away in the second half, outscoring the Panthers 41-27.
Other scores: Durango beat Montrose 58-48; Delta beat Summit 65-54; Rifle beat Glenwood Springs 52-43; Aspen beat Olathe 43-32; Grand Valley defeated Coal Ridge 63-51; Paonia beat Rangely 57-53; and Meeker beat Hotchkiss 65-61.
Three players scored in double figures for Fruita Monument as the Wildcats defeated Central 63-24 in Southwestern League girls basketball Friday.
For Fruita (16-6, 7-2 SWL), Sam Parks scored 14 points, Michelle Hunter scored 12 and Lauren LaBonde added 10 points, including two 3-pointers.
Taryn Smith led Central (5-16, 1-8) with six points.
The Wildcats led 45-20 after three quarters, yet were able to score 18 more in the fourth.
“We’re not trying to run up the score,” Fruita coach Richard Atkins said. “But one thing I did say is if you play for us, you have to play hard.”
Grand Junction 64, Montezuma-Cortez 18: Shafer Rubalcaba’s 16 points paced the Southwestern League-leading Tigers, who led 17-0 after the first quarter.
“We played really good defense and we really shared the ball well,” Grand Junction coach Sam Provenza said. “We played together as well as we have all season.”
Eleven players scored for the Tigers (16-3, 6-1).
Rifle 45, Glenwood Springs 44: Taylor Walters’ only basket of the game came with two seconds left and won the 4A Western Slope League game for the Bears (12-6, 10-3). Walters hit a shot from just inside the 3-point line on the right wing.
Chante Church led Rifle with 27 points, including 4-of-6 shooting on 3-pointers.
Palisade 48, Eagle Valley 40: Jenna Brown sank two free throws late in the third quarter to give Palisade the lead for good at 25-24 in the 4A WSL game. After the Devils (11-7, 8-5) pulled within 33-32 in the middle of the fourth quarter, Palisade’s Ashlyn Brown hit a 3-pointer to put the Bulldogs (8-10, 7-6) back in control.
Cruz Maestas led the Bulldogs with 16 points, including an 8-for-11 showing from the free-throw line.
Hotchkiss 53, Meeker 31: Hotchkiss took a 33-20 lead at the half.
Hayden 39, Plateau Valley 25: Hayden put away the Cowboys in the fourth quarter of the 1A/2A Western Slope League game, outscoring them 16-6. Randy Schowalter led Plateau Valley (4-10, 1-5) with seven points.
Other scores: Montrose beat Durango 54-38; and Paonia beat Rangely 55-26.