Key shots help Delta top Palisade girls
The Delta Panthers girls basketball team hit timely free throws in the final two minutes and a basket near the buzzer to hold off Palisade 40-35 to pick up a key Class 4A Western Slope League win.
It went down to the wire, and the Bulldogs had their chances, trailing by two at 37-35, but three missed 3-point shots in the final 30 seconds sealed their fate.
The win moves Delta (5-7, 3-2 WSL) ahead of Palisade (7-5, 2-3 WSL) in league play.
“We’ve gotten better every single game, and that’s all we’ve focused on this year,” Delta head coach Matt Hamm said. “We’ve really gotten more confident, and now we feel like we’re one of the top teams in the league.”
Senior Shelby Curtis led the Panthers with 10 points, including five in the final 2:20. She hit three of four from the line and put back an offensive rebound on her miss for the final points.
Aspen Guray hit a basket in the lane for the Bulldogs to cut the lead to 37-35, then Palisade forced four turnovers in the final minute but couldn’t hit a long range shot.
Guray finished with 15 points and Christa Brown had eight before fouling out late in the fourth.
Grand Junction 52, Central 42: Central (3-12, 0-2 SWL) had a chance until the Tigers’ Sydni Brandon iced the game late in the fourth quarter when she found a wide-open Jaryn Gibb on two consecutive possessions for baskets. From there, the Tigers ran down the clock.
Rebounding from their first loss of the season to Montrose, the Tigers were led by Brandon’s 18 points. Tori Catlett chipped in 12 points and controlled the paint on both ends of the court.
Tyler Hays hit three 3-pointers, and Cassidy Bryant scored 14 points as the Warriors tested the heavily favored Tigers (12-1, 1-1 SWL).
Rifle 35, Steamboat Springs 18: Chante Church scored 14 points and Carsyn Copeland added 12 as Rifle used a strong defensive performance to pick up a 4A WSL win.
Steamboat didn’t hit more than two field goals in any quarter and didn’t score more than five points in a single quarter. Maddie Robertson led the Sailors with 11 points.
Paonia 59, Hotchkiss 32: Carson Pipher scored 16 points to lead Paonia, which outscored the Bulldogs 27-8 in the second quarter.
Close games tended to slip away and end in losses for Fruita Monument one year ago.
Tuesday, the Wildcats showed it’s a different year and a different team, getting the job done in the fourth quarter to defeat Montrose 59-54 in a Southwestern League contest at Fruita.
The Wildcats (6-10, 2-1 SWL) led 44-39 entering the final frame, but the Indians (5-6, 0-2 SWL) tied the game 44-44 with six minutes left when Donovan Kattner hit a 3-pointer.
Fruita’s response won the game: Matt Story made a jump shot; Arturo Chavez drained a 3-pointer from the left baseline; and Dylan Row made a shot down low, was fouled and converted his free throw for a three-point play and a 52-44 lead with 4:05 remaining.
From there, Montrose closed within two points twice, the final time on two Kyle Freeberg free throws with 40.7 seconds to go to make it 56-54. Row, though, iced the game with two free throws with 12.5 seconds left.
“As much as anything, it’s our maturity and the tough schedule we played,” Fruita coach Billy Dreher said of the difference in the game. “Last year, we lost these kinds of games. ... We made some solid plays and hit some free throws down the stretch and closed it out.”
Steamboat Springs 52, Rifle 33: Zach Dunklin hit three 3-pointers and scored 14 points to lead Steamboat Springs to a 4A WSL victory.
The Sailors led 9-8 at the end of the first quarter, and extended that lead to 23-13, holding the Bears to five points in the second quarter.
Trenton Brown led Rifle with 13 points.
Paonia 60, Hotchkiss 55: Paonia rallied from a four-point deficit late in the fourth quarter to force overtime, then outscored the Bulldogs 7-2 in the extra session despite making just 3 of 7 free throws.
Free-throw shooting cost Hotchkiss as it made only 9 of 22 for the game.
Josiah Spano led the Eagles (7-4) with 18 points, and River Panish topped Hotchkiss (8-3) with 15 points.