Gatt has big moments in Montrose’s victory over Fruita

Bryce Gatt didn’t think about whether the moment was big. She just knew she was staring at a wide-open shot on the right wing, and even as a freshman she’s been instructed to be aggressive.

So, she was.

Gatt took the shot and buried it, giving the advantage back to Montrose, 30-28, after it had relinquished the lead to close the third quarter. Montrose never trailed again as the Indians defeated Fruita Monument 47-37 in a Southwestern League girls basketball game Tuesday night in Fruita.

Gatt may not have thought of her shot as anything special, but Montrose coach Eric Sanchez immediately recognized the magnitude of the moment. He turned to his assistant coaches and said, “She’s not afraid of the moment. That’s why I love her.”

Two possessions later, Gatt blocked a shot, scooped up the loose ball and raced to the other end of the court for a layup and a 34-30 lead.

“She’s a freshman, and sometimes freshmen don’t always understand the situation, for good or bad,” he said. “All year long she’s been an aggressive kid for us. She’s not afraid to be aggressive and take a shot, and she brought that tonight.”

Gatt said her 3-pointer surprised her.

“I came into it, and I stopped, and, ‘Wow, I’m open,’ ” she said. “I just decided to take the shot, and luckily it went in.”

On the block/steal/layup, she seized the moment, talking herself through each moment as it unfolded. After she got her hand on the ball for the block, she reacted to the loose ball, chasing it down and thinking, “I guess it’s mine.”

The she realized, “There’s no one in front of me, I’ll take it in,” and finally as she neared the basket she reminded herself not to rush it: “OK, easy layup. Here we go.”

Gatt finished with seven points, five of them in that span of 55 seconds. Otherwise, the Montrose offense most of the game had been a combination of Emily Thorp and Elise Hill catching passes near the basket and scoring layups or heading to the free-throw line.

Thorp did most of her work from the field and led all scorers with 17 points. Hill did most of her scoring at the foul line, struggling early but finishing 8 of 16 on her way to 12 points.

The Indians also did a solid job on defense, playing man-to-man, but often with a line of three players protecting the paint. Fruita struggled against that defense early, but started to make shots in the second quarter, including two 3-pointers by Kassidy Fair.

With 4 minutes, 13 seconds left in the third quarter, Fruita took its first lead of the game, 24-21, as ShaRae Dorscher banked in a 3-pointer from the top of the key.

In the middle of the fourth quarter, Fruita closed to within a point, 34-33, on a pull-up jumper by Mariah Love, but Montrose pulled away from there. The Indians scored on four of their next five possessions to push their lead to 43-33 with 1:08 left.

Despite his team clawing back, Wildcats coach Michael Wells said his team lacked the energy it had in two wins last weekend. He blamed himself for the team not being as prepared as it needed to be Tuesday.


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