Defense lifts Fruita girls to victory

The Fruita Monument girls basketball team took a double-digit lead early in the second quarter and never looked back Thursday as it defeated Roosevelt 49-27 during the first day of the Black Canyon Basketball Classic.

Fruita (5-2) drained three 3-pointers in the first half and forced 26 Roosevelt turnovers.

Fruita coach Richard Atkins said the Wildcats came to the tournament with a defense-heavy mind-set.

“We wanted to play real aggressive defense,” he said. “We knew if we did that, offensive opportunities would come. I think in the second (quarter), we got into that mode of not really wanting to shoot the ball. We’re going to work on shooting the ball. We still have the goal of scoring 70 points every game.”

Fruita has now won four games by 20 points or more.

All-SWL guard Lauren LaBonde saw limited first-team action Thursday, but Atkins said that LaBonde is nearly back to full strength after missing a stretch of games at the beginning of the year.

“I think the timing is right,” Atkins said. “She just needs to work on getting better shots. She works hard. It will just take a little time for her to get back where she wants to be. She’s beginning to progress, and she’s a definite asset. There are a lot of kids on this team who play their hearts out, and I have to give them a lot of credit.”

Poudre Tournament: Central lost its two games Thursday during the first day of the Poudre Tournament in Fort Collins.

Windsor took a 28-10 halftime lead and defeated Central 58-32 in the Warriors’ opening game. Jordan Eller led the Warriors with 11 points.

In the Warriors’ second game, Greeley Central outscored Central 16-5 in the third quarter to break open the game en route to a 49-32 victory. Taryn Smith led the Warriors with 11 points.

The Warriors resume tourney play today with a 4 p.m. game against Mountain View.

Boys Basketball

The Fruita Monument boys basketball team took a 27-10 halftime lead and turned back Northridge 53-35 in the first round of the Greeley Central Tournament.

Devin Winstanley led the Wildcats with 13 points and Dylan Row added 12 points.

Fruita coach Billy Dreher said his team started strong, which was a welcome change.

“We finally had a good first quarter,” Dreher said. “We had been a little sluggish getting out of the gate.

“I thought we shot the ball pretty well from the field and free throws, and we rebounded the ball a little bit better tonight offensively and defensively.”

Fruita plays a second-round game at 6 p.m. today against the winner of the game between Sand Creek and Greeley West.

Grand Junction 49, Mountain Range 48: Mountain Range missed a last-second 12-footer as the Tigers (5-2) won their first-round game in the Douglas County Tournament.

Broderick Robinson scored 21 points to lead Grand Junction, which plays Gateway at 5:45 p.m. today in the second round.

Harrison 52, Central 41: Harrison, which took a 20-8 lead after one quarter, got 17 points from Thomas Jackson in its first-round win in the Harrison Tournament. The Panthers improved to 3-1.


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