Bulldogs own fourth quarter
Many tried to explain what happened in the fourth quarter Saturday.
Maybe Palisade’s Kane Gunther said it best: “We went off.”
A close game in the third quarter against Hotchkiss turned into a 53-35 Palisade victory.
The host Bulldogs (3-2) outscored Hotchkiss 19-3 in the final quarter.
Palisade’s full-court press suddenly caused numerous turnovers.
Hotchkiss (1-1) lost composure.
The quarter was like its own game, played a week later.
Whatever happened, few could explain it.
They sure tried.
“We played real good the first three-and-a-half quarters,” Hotchkiss coach Kyle Crowder said. “I wouldn’t say we didn’t have effort.”
Steve Phillips gave explaining it a go.
“The ball started going in,” he said. “We attacked offensively instead of playing catch.”
Connor Whaley didn’t write an essay about it.
“We had to get it done,” he said.
Kyle Monger, who had 11 points and a 3-pointer with six minutes remaining, put it simply as well: “We said, ‘We’re better than this.’ “
And so it just happened.
Gunther, who led Palisade with 15 points, had players clawing at his wrists during most of his shots, many of which rolled in and out. So he did something else that final quarter. He grabbed three offensive rebounds, once pulling the ball down and flipping it back in to put Palisade up 42-33 with 5:30 left.
“He’s a confident kid,” Crowder said of Gunther. “He’s started four years. He’s a great shooter and I thought our kids didn’t give him many good looks.”
Tell Hawk and Taylor Schreiner led Hotchkiss with eight points.
Unfortunately for the Palisade girls, there was no fourth-quarter explosion.
Instead, Hotchkiss found the late magic.
Palisade led 23-15 with 35 seconds remaining in the third quarter when Hotchkiss (1-1) began chipping away at the lead with a full-court press.
“We started playing aggressively,” said Natalie Anderson, who had seven points. “We just figured out that’s what we should be doing to steal their passes.”
Hotchkiss took a 31-29 lead with 1:45 remaining on a turnaround jumper by Chelsea Hotchkiss, who had a game-high 12 points.
Palisade traveled twice in the final minute and Anderson hit a pair of free throws with 11 seconds left to put Hotchkiss up by four.
“We were up and we didn’t execute,” Palisade coach Toni Gunther said. “We didn’t handle it as well as we’d liked to.”
Hannah Talbott led Palisade with nine points.
“We know we’re a better team than how we played,” guard Emily Crow said. “We just threw the ball away too much.”