Fruita Monument can’t find rhythm in loss to Cortez

Neither Fruita Monument High School boys basketball coach Dave Fox nor his counterpart from Montezuma-Cortez, Eric White, walked away from Friday’s Southwestern League game satisfied.

White was probably a little more content, however, as he team put on a fourth-quarter rally to take a 42-31 road victory.

The coaches were frustrated because neither team was able to get in much of a rhythm and the game lacked flow throughout.

“It seemed like we could do something for a couple of possessions, then there were five possessions where neither team would do anything,” White said.

“It was very difficult for everybody,” Fox said.

The Wildcats (5-12, 1-5 Southwestern League) led for most of the game, at one point taking a 23-14 advantage in the third quarter before the Panthers cut their deficit to 24-22 entering the fourth.

It was all Cortez in the final eight minutes as the Wildcats hit only one field goal. Forced to foul, they put the Panthers on the line, Cortez converting eight to seal the victory.

“I’m speechless,” Fox said after the game, frustrated mainly with his team’s 10-of-43 shooting.

“We didn’t make an outside shot that I can recall,” Fox said. “It’s really tough when you can’t get a consistent scorer.”

Cortez post player Micah Conrads picked up two quick fouls in the first quarter but carried the Panthers in the second half, when he scored 11 of his game-high 17 points.

For a while, White’s biggest concern was whether he would have enough bodies to finish the game. The physical style took its toll as two Pantherss, including Conrads, went down with ankle injuries. After a quick tape job, Conrads came back in during the third quarter.

“Fouls and healthy players were our biggest concern,” White said.

The Panthers outscored the Wildcats 20-7 in the fourth quarter.

Fruita Monument was led by Alex Mende, who had 11 points and six rebounds (five on the offensive end), and Brett Nankervis, who scored eight points.

“I could hang my hat on what (Nankervis) did,” Fox said, crediting his senior point guard’s leadership and effort on both ends of the floor.

Only three other Fruita Monument players got in the scoring column.

The Wildcats will try to salvage the weekend when they play host to Durango at 1:30 p.m.


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