Comeback falls short: Fourth-quarter rally not enough as Tigers lose in OT
Grand Junction High School girls basketball player Paula Lage was determined to keep her team in the game Tuesday night.
The Tigers had rallied from a nine-point, fourth-quarter deficit and trailed Glenwood Springs 46-44 with 30 seconds remaining.
Lage, who had nine points in the quarter to help get the Tigers back in the game, had the ball at the top of the key.
The Demons had trouble with Lage in the paint, so they gave the 5-foot-11 post player room to shoot. Lage calmly nailed a 3-pointer from two feet behind the line to give the Tigers a 47-46 lead.
“We needed to score,” Lage said. “In practice I’ll just throw them up messing around, but it comes to basics with a shot like that. You have to keep your elbow in and hope for the best.”
Undeterred by the shot, the Demons forced overtime when Cassidy Gaddis was fouled and made 1 of 2 free throws.
The Demons controlled overtime, sending the Tigers to their second straight loss with a 54-49 win.
“It’s hard to lose on our home court in overtime,” Lage said. “But we never gave up and played hard throughout the game.”
Grand Junction (4-4) was climbing out of a hole from the start. Glenwood Springs started the game with three Kenzie Kuhn 3-pointers to take a 9-2 lead.
Grand Junction went on a run in the final 30 seconds of the quarter, including Fawn Brady’s three-point play, to close the Demons’ lead to 15-12 at the end of the quarter.
The Tigers looked to pull away in the second quarter after a Joei Ritter 3-pointer gave them a 20-19 lead. But the Demons responded with three straight baskets in the paint to end the half with a 25-22 lead.
“We had some breakdowns,” Grand Junction coach Sam Provenza said. “We have to have a better effort the whole time.”
Glenwood Springs continued to play its sagging zone defense in the third quarter, limiting the Tigers to only six points. Behind their defense, the Demons jumped out to a 35-28 lead after three quarters.
“We aren’t used to that defense so we were taking more outside shots,” Tigers guard Stephanie Drake said. “We just couldn’t hit the shots.”
The key to the Tigers’ run in the fourth was attacking the Demons’ zone with Lage. Once the Demons began to collapse on Lage, she found Brady for an open 3-pointer that cut the lead to 43-41.
“Once they started looking for dribble penetration in the fourth, we got some good looks,” Provenza said. “We were never in panic mode.”
Lage led the Tigers with 22 points and Brady finished with 15. Kuhn had 24 points for the Demons, including four 3-pointers.
“We were in situations where we easily could have won that game,” Provenza said. “But we made some mistakes and had turnovers.”
The Tigers play this weekend in the Montrose Black Canyon Classic.
“We have to leave this game behind and move on,” Drake said.
Delta 48, Montrose 37: Jenni Jones led the Panthers with 12 points.