Demons repeating last year’s success
The Glenwood Springs High School boys basketball team is proving a team can lose five athletic players from a Sweet 16 team and be just fine.
With two weeks remaining in the regular season, the Demons are 10-0 in the Western Slope League and 14-5 overall, heading into this weekend’s games against Moffat County and Steamboat Springs.
“The team that won league last year was extremely athletic,” fourth-year Glenwood Springs coach Greg Hire said. “We had three players that went to college for football, one for baseball, and one for basketball.”
According to Hire, the big difference with the Demons this year is the amount of time all the players dedicated specifically to basketball. At the top of that list are guards Kelbey Artaz and Russell Collins.
“We have two guards (Collins and Artaz) that I’d put up against any pair of guards in the state,” Hire said. “What’s nice about the smaller schools is they grew up playing together, and always know where the other one’s going to be on the court.”
The Demons lineup is filled out by the likes of Josh Galvan and Kevin Flohr, who are both pure shooters. Nick Ciani at 6 feet, 3 inches serves the role of big man on the inside.
Danny Weller and Wyatt Isreal also get significant playing time for the Demons. With that core group of players, the Demons hold a two-game lead atop the league standings, and have won most of the league games by double-digits.
The Demons had a few tests, including close games against this weekend’s opponents the first time around. Hire said he expects the Demons’ remaining four games to be tough.
“They are all going to be a challenge,” Hire said. “Moffat was a seven-point game before, Steamboat is always a tough place to win. At Rifle is tough because of the rivalry, and Delta’s been playing very hot lately.”
Hire said the team isn’t too concerned about finishing the WSL undefeated, just as long as they are on top when the regular season is completed.
“Getting one of those top eight seeds is so important,” Hire said. “The boys are proud they have a chance to win league, that’s more important than how they did it.”
The Glenwood Springs boys aren’t the only team on the Western Slope that hasn’t lost a league game. Every league has a team sitting atop its standings without a loss. On the boys side, it’s Fruita Monument at 7-0 in the Southwestern League, Aspen at 11-0 in 3A WSL, and Meeker at 9-0 in the 2A WSL. Both Aspen and Meeker are also undefeated overall with Aspen at 14-0 and Meeker at 18-0.
In girls basketball, Central leads the way at 7-0 in the SWL. With three regular season games remaining, the Warriors are looking for a 20-win regular season. Rifle is 10-0 in 4A WSL, Olathe is 12-0 in 3A WSL, and Paonia is 7-0 in 2A WSL.
The Grand Junction boys basketball team is playing tonight against Battle Mountain in a home make-up game at 5 p.m. The game was originally scheduled for Dec. 8, but was postponed because of inclement weather. The game couldn’t come at a better time for the Tigers, who are coming off of back-to-back losses to Fruita Monument and Montrose.
The only Grand Valley representative at this weekend’s state swimming and diving meet at EPIC in Fort Collins is Grand Junction diver Gillian McLean.
“Being just a junior, she can go over there, do a good job and establish background for next year,” Grand Junction swim coach Dale Leonhart said.
The state meet is Friday and Saturday with the diving prelims taking place at 9 a.m. on Saturday.