Fruita boys finish SWL schedule undefeated
Perfection doesn’t come easily.
On Friday in front of a loud hometown crowd, the Fruita Monument High School boys basketball team was able to elude a Montrose rally, winning 67-63 and finishing its Southwestern League schedule 10-0.
“It was unbelievable,” sophomore Drew Bridges said.
Although the Wildcats had a big lead in the beginning, with Bridges scoring 14 first-half points and T.J. Pollock adding 10 more, the true test came in getting past the final four minutes, when Montrose worked back from a 15-point halftime deficit.
Down 36-21 at the half, Montrose got a lift by the return of Nate Robertson, who sat out the first half because of an injury suffered in Thursday’s game against Central.
Robertson accounted for eight points, but with his return came plenty of scoring from his teammates. The Indians put together a 22-point third quarter and finished with 42 points in the second half.
With just more than four minutes left to play, Montrose was able to use a Fruita cold streak to narrow the lead before going on a 10-2 run to cut it to 63-61 with 1:10 left.
A deciding moment came when an errant pass by Fruita’s Tyler Daniels ended up in the Fruita bench with 45 seconds left.
As the Indians moved the ball looking for the tie, Fruita came up with a steal and got the ball to Steve Goff, who drew a foul and hit both free throws to give the Wildcats a four-point lead.
After a Montrose basket narrowed the lead again, Goff hit two more free throws to seal the victory.
“He’s had two game winners at the buzzer for us and he’s now hit four free throws, so he’s made the big play when we really needed it,” Fruita coach Dave Fox said.
And as the final buzzer sounded, the Wildcats accomplished something no other Fruita team in recent years has done — sweeping the SWL.
“I’ve been here since 1981 and I don’t remember anyone being 10-0,” Fox said. “That’s something we told the kids they’ll never able to take that away from you.”
At 6-foot-1, Hanna Bowden stands taller than anyone on the Fruita Monument girls basketball team.
Friday, the senior from Montrose used that advantage, scoring 20 points in a 44-32 win over the Wildcats.
“She’s a tough matchup for a lot of teams,” Montrose coach Eric Sanchez said. “We knew if we could get the ball inside and we were patient enough to get the ball to her down low, she could go to work.”
And she did go to work, scoring 14 second-half points, largely on to turnaround shots down low.
The Wildcat offense struggled to get going all game and was held to no points in the second quarter. Senior Sarah Hensley was limited to five points. Keila Utu led Fruita with nine and Katie Lewis had eight.
Montrose’s Jana Horn scored 13 points, nine coming on free throws.