Fast-break ‘Cats: 30-2 run in second quarter helps Fruita girls rout Central

Taylor Johnson shoots over Central’s Taylor Hice on Friday to score two of her eight points in the Wildcats’ 63-18 victory.

The Fruita Monument High School girls basketball team turned its defense into offense.

Friday night at Central, the Wildcats used a full-court defensive press to push a 10-6 first quarter lead into a 40-8 halftime advantage.

Ahead comfortably in the second half, Fruita Monument (10-8, 3-2 Southwestern League) cruised to a 63-18 victory.

“Must have been the gym, we’ve had a lot of bad memories in this gym,” Wildcats coach Dan Schmalz said about the slow start. “We weren’t quite ready in the first quarter, but we totally made up for it in the second.”

Fruita Monument struggled offensively in the first quarter, and the Warriors (1-15, 0-5 SWL) put together one of their best quarters of the season. Jordan Eller hit two jump shots to keep Central close.

“I was very pleased with the first quarter,” Central coach Todd Dixon said. “But after that, we have to all be on the same page.”

The Wildcats’ second-quarter defense forced Central into turnovers that led to easy Wildcat buckets. Megan Reynoso scored five points in the second quarter, including a 3-pointer that put Fruita ahead 28-7.

“We knew we had a good chance of winning, but we wanted to come out strong,” Reynoso said. “We were down after Tuesday (44-41 loss to Montrose), but we needed to finish the week strong.”

Propelled by nine steals, the Wildcats outscored Central 30-2 in the second quarter. The Warriors didn’t make a field goal in the second quarter.

“We had to pick it up defensively, and they responded really well,” Schmalz said. “It was important to make this game over as quickly as possible to get back into our groove.”

The offensive struggles continued for Central, as the Warriors scored less than 20 points for the third time this season.

“When they pick up the press, we’ve had a hard time making adjustments,” Cain said.

Fruita Monument cruised the rest of the way, led by Lauren LaBonde’s 18 points. Taylor Johnson added eight points and Jenni Sneddon added seven.

In fact, every player in the Wildcats’ scorebook had at least two points.

“They bust their butts in practice,” Schmalz said of his reserves. “So they deserve varsity time when we can give it to them.”

Jordan Eller and Taylor Hice each scored five points for the Warriors.


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