Defense sparks run in 2nd quarter for Palisade
A fire-and-brimstone speech at the end of the first quarter woke up the Palisade High School girls basketball team Thursday night.
Senior Christa Brown scored six of her game-high 20 points during a game-changing run in the second quarter, helping Palisade roll to a 39-24 victory over Montrose on the first day of the Palisade Sunrise Rotary Invitational.
“We just weren’t finishing at the rim, and we needed to be a lot more aggressive at the basket,” Palisade coach Danielle Bagwell said. “Overall, though, we found a way to get it together. That’s a great defensive team we played, and their man-to-man defense is really solid.
“But when our defense came around, we finally found ways to score.”
A layup from Anita Ramos sparked the big second quarter for the Bulldogs, who outscored Montrose (5-2) 13-4. Ramos’ basket started a 10-2 run for Palisade (6-1).
The second-quarter run came thanks to the increased defensive intensity. The Bulldogs’ press forced six turnovers on the Indians’ first seven possessions of the second quarter, which allowed Palisade to turn an 11-8 deficit into a 21-13 halftime lead. .
“We knew we had to come out with a lot of energy defensively, so I’m very pleased with the first quarter,” first-year Montrose coach Steve Skiff said. “The second quarter? Palisade just showed how good of a team they are. They put a really good press on us, and we struggled with it.”
Sierra Lucero scored six points for the Indians, who were limited to 32 percent shooting. Kennadie Minerich’s 3-pointer at the end of the first quarter, followed by a jumper from Lucero to start the second, gave the Indians a three-point lead.
Bagwell’s speech in between quarters — which could be heard in the stands — played a part in the Bulldogs’ increased intensity. The Bulldogs’ defense allowed only one field goal from the beginning of the second quarter until there were 6 minutes gone in the third. By then, Palisade had a 28-13 lead.
“We were trying to work with some half-court things at the beginning, but there were times during that stretch where we became a little stagnant,” Bagwell said. “That change helped energize us a bit.”
Central 59, Cheyenne South 46: Senior Jayda Walker-Towles scored 12 of her game-high 20 points in the fourth quarter, and the Warriors (4-3) held the Bison (0-1) without a field goal for the game’s final 6 minutes, 30 seconds.
A 3-pointer from Summer Sevchuk with 6:30 remaining pulled Cheyenne South within 44-43. That’s when Walker-Towles took over, answering with a running jumper with 6:06 remaining to spark a 15-3 game-ending run. Eight of her 12 fourth-quarter points came in the run, with each of her field goals coming on drives to the hoop off the dribble.
“We were playing really shaky at the end of the third quarter,” she said. “Me being a senior and a captain, I felt I needed to take on that role to help our team and give everyone more confidence.
“I saw they were overplaying a bit on defense and being really aggressive. I knew if I went to the hole, those chances would be wide open for me.”
Sierra Batchelor added 15 points and Sydney Corra chipped in 10 for the Warriors, who led most of the game before a jumper from Karli Noble at the beginning of the fourth gave the Bison their only lead of the game after trailing by as many as 10 points early in the second quarter. Noble’s 15 points paced Cheyenne South.