Close-knit Indians

Chemistry a key ingredient for Montrose girls hoops team

Kala Keltz is the leading scorer for the Montrose Indians, who have overcome some adversity to advance to the Great Eight in the Class 4A state tournament. The Indians face a tough task Saturday in No. 1-seeded Broomfield.


Montrose (20-4) vs. Broomfield (24-1)

Girls Basketball Class 4A State Quarterfinal, 4 p.m. Saturday at Denver Coliseum

The coaches

Broomfield — Mike Croell, 23rd year

Montrose — Eric Sanchez, 4th year

Top players

Broomfield — Callie Kaiser, 5-8, soph., 13.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 45 assists, 77 steals; Nicole Lehrer, 5-6, soph., 8.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 50 assists, 63 steals; Brenna Chase, 5-8, fr., 8 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 40 assists, 72 steals; Brianna Wilber, 5-4, jr., 7.7 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 80 assists, 86 steals; Katie Croell, 5-9, sr., 6 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 40 steals.

Montrose — Kala Keltz, 5-8, sr., 11.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 67 assists, 28 steals; Tess Skoe, 5-8, sr., 7.5 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 76 assists, 45 steals; Lara Ammermann, 5-9, sr., 4.5 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 22 assists, 18 steals; Emily Thorp, 6-1, jr., 6.5 ppg, 5 rpg; Holly Brooks, 5-5, fr., 6.6 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 39 assists, 18 steals.

About the Eagles

■ They won the Northern League championship with a 14-0 record.

■ They have two seniors, seven juniors, two sophomores and three freshmen on the roster.

■ They’ve made 45 percent of their field goals and 62 percent of their free throws (293 of 475) this season.

■ They average 12 3-point attempts per game and make an average of 3.4. Chase leads the team with 29 3-pointers, followed by Wilber with 21 and Kaiser with 14.

■ They average 18.4 steals per game and commits 15.1 turnovers per game. Wilber leads the team with 86 steals and Kaiser follows with 77.

About the Indians

■ They tied 5A schools Grand Junction and Fruita Monument for first place in the Southwestern League with an 8-2 mark.

■ After losing consecutive games to Fruita Monument (42-27 on Feb. 5) and Grand Junction (44-37 on Feb. 8), the Indians have won eight games in a row and limited five of those opponents to 27 points or fewer.

■ They average 52 points per game. Their season high is 73. Their season low is 34 in a win over Fruita Monument on Jan. 22.

■ The defense limits opponents to an average of 32.4 points per game. They gave up a season-high 45 in a season-opening loss to Elizabeth.

■ All four of their losses have come on the road. They are 5-0 on a neutral court.

Other quarterfinals

All games Saturday at Denver Coliseum

■ Pueblo West (24-1) vs. Centaurus (18-7), 8:45 a.m.

■ Pueblo South (23-2) vs. Mesa Ridge (25-0), 11:45 a.m.

■ D’Evelyn (24-1) vs. Sand Creek (21-4), 7 p.m.

One senior moved away and another sustained a season-ending injury, yet the Montrose High School girls basketball team pressed on.

The Indians (20-4) didn’t win the Southwestern League, but they are still playing well into March.

Montrose (20-4) plays region top seed Broomfield (24-1) at 
4 p.m. on Saturday at the Denver Coliseum. The winner advances to Class 4A’s Final Four next weekend in Boulder.

“That’s one of those things that enabled us to be successful is chemistry,” Montrose coach Eric Sanchez said. “This group has pulled together from Day 1. They stuck together through it all.”

Senior Maison Bovard started the season with the Indians, but her family moved away during the Christmas break.

Senior Kourtney Keltz and junior Shae Wilford each had season-ending knee injuries earlier this season. Freshman Holly Brooks missed seven weeks with an injury, but she’s back.

“We had to find a way to get things done,” Sanchez said. “We’re not going to use anything as an excuse. We have high-character kids. The way they handle themselves on and off the court has been a huge key to our success.”

Montrose relies on its defense and a balanced, half-court offense to get the job done, but they face a tradition-rich Broomfield Eagles team with a contrasting style.

Broomfield won six consecutive Class 4A state titles through the 2010-11 school year. The Eagles are currently on an 18-game win streak. Their only loss came to Class 5A Arapahoe, a 
No. 1 region seed, 57-46.

“They like to press,” Sanchez said. “We’ll have to handle their pressure.

“We’ve played some presses this year. Theirs is one of the best in the state. It’s important we break it down and not be in a hurry to make a great play (against it).”

On offense, Broomfield likes to attack the basket.

“They have a penetrating, attacking-style offense,” Sanchez said. “We understand what’s coming to the table. We have a good understanding how to handle it. We’re not going to get too high or too low. We need to keep an even keel.”

The Eagles, though, don’t rely on one player to carry the scoring. Callie Kaiser is the lone Broomfield player averaging double figures (13.1 points per game). Three more players are averaging eight or more points per game.

“They are similar to us in that sense,” Sanchez said of Broomfield’s balanced scoring. “They don’t have one or two kids to key on. Most teams left have that in common. They have a couple ways they can beat you.”

Sanchez said the Indians want to turn the contest into a half-court game.

“We want to play our best basketball,” he said. “We have to be ready and be at our best.”

The last time Montrose reached the Class 4A state semifinals was in 2008-09, John Mraule’s final season as head coach. Sanchez was an assistant on the staff before taking over the team the next season.


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