GJ boys answer challenge with win
Less than 24 hours after a tough road win, the Grand Junction High School boys basketball team faced another stiff challenge.
The Tigers answered Saturday in a physical battle to defeat Mountain Vista 61-54 in a non-league game at Grand Junction High School.
Tommy Powers led the Tigers (11-4) with 26 points. Tyler Winder had 17.
“We came out and had a big game (Friday) night,” Powers said. “We stuck with it and didn’t let down at all. We played hard two nights in a row. It was a big win.”
Grand Junction coach Dutch Johnson knew it would be a tough challenge and was pleased with how the team played.
“It’s tough to do,” Johnson said. “We talked about it. We told them, we’ve seen how you respond after a loss, now we’ll see how you respond after a big win.
“It was an ugly, grind it out game. When you go 21 of 24 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter, you should win.”
Winder, the Tigers’ point guard, made 11 of 12 in the final period.
“That’s what you want from your point guard,” Johnson said. “Tyler doesn’t feel like he played his best game, but down the stretch he took care of the ball and made his free throws. It’s good to have the ball in his hands.”
Grand Junction did it with defense, limiting Mountain Vista to 40 percent shooting from the floor. The Golden Eagles helped Grand Junction by making only 5 of 12 foul shots.
“We knew they’d get after us defensively,” Johnson said. “If you look at the second quarter, we held them to five points and gave us a little lead going into half. To play that good of defense against a team that screens as much as they do, I felt we did a good job.”
The Tigers took a 26-19 halftime lead and pushed it to double figures with the help of a Powers 3-pointer.
The Golden Eagles cut the lead to five, but Ryan Nash received back-to-back technical fouls for arguing with an official. Powers hit 2 of 4 free throws then buried another 3-pointer to go up 10 again.
Palisade defeated Fairview 51-20, Columbine 7-16, Niwot 48-27, Mountain View 72-9 and Highlands Ranch 63-15 to go 5-0 in the Fairview Duals tournament.
Palisade’s Daniel Salazar (119 pounds), Mason Day (130), Terry Williams (140), Wesley Shingleton (145), Kelly Davis (152) and Joey Dupre (285) were 5-0. Eric Wilson (103), Justin Ray (112), Kevin Martinez (125) and Nick Stephanus (215) were 4-1.
Central’s Matthew Gurule won the Top of the Rockies Invitational to lead the Warriors to a 13th-place finish with 82 points.
The 112-pound senior defeated Pueblo South’s Timothy Urenda 8-1 in a rematch of the Warrior Classic final for the Top of the Rockies title.
Central’s Willy Holdren (145), Zach Short (152) and Kyle Jamison (215) were each one win shy of placing in the top six.
Grand Junction went 1-3 and Palisade/Central was 0-4 in the Grand Junction Duals tournament at El Pomar Natatorium on the campus of Mesa State College.
Gillian McLean placed fourth in the 1-meter diving competition with a score of 138.7, Jess Deters took fourth in the 100-yard butterfly and Jordyn Madsen was fourth in the 100 breaststroke to lead the Tigers.
Teddy Hayes led Palisade/Central with a third-place finish in the 50 freestyle (27.66) and third in the 100 freestyle (1:01.54).
Grand Junction (8-6) was scheduled to play a non-league game Saturday at Eaglecrest, but it was postponed because of weather conditions in the Rocky Mountains.