Gunther’s determination rallies Bulldogs past Huskies

When it comes to crunch time, Palisade basketball player Kane Gunther is determined to win.

Thursday at the Warrior Challenge at Central High School, Gunther led the Bulldogs to a 54-52 win.

But it wasn’t easy.

Palisade was trailing Douglas County 52-49 with under two minutes remaining.

That’s when Gunther, a sophomore point guard, proved he wasn’t ready to concede just yet.

With under a minute remaining, Gunther drove the lane for a layup to cut the lead to 52-51. After Douglas County’s Nick Anderson missed the first of a bonus free throw, Gunther grabbed the rebound and assisted on Jeremy Hayden’s go-ahead basket.

As the Huskies took the ball down the court after Hayden’s basket, Antonio Wilson couldn’t control the dribble, and Gunther came up with a loose ball to reclaim possession for Palisade.

Gunther was fouled and sent to the line. He missed both free throws, but fought his way through four Douglas County defenders to grab the offensive rebound.

Guther was fouled again with 1.4 seconds left and made one of two free throws to give the Bulldogs the victory

“During one of the late timeouts, I told the guys to relax and act like they’ve been here before,” Palisade coach Steve Phillips said. “They didn’t panic and we found a way to win.”

Gunther led the way for the Bulldogs with 17 points, six rebounds and four assists. Not far behind Gunther was Hayden with 15 points and junior Nate Yanez with 11 points.

“We’ve improved a lot,” Yanez said. “Last year we came into this tournament and we were scared, this year we were just having fun playing together.”

Tanner Hurtado led the way for Douglas County with 17 points.

Grand Junction 61, Carbon 49

The Tigers improved to 2-0 against teams from Utah, defeating Carbon, Utah, 61-49 in the final game of the Warrior Challenge.

Grand Junction used a combination of ball-control and offensive patience to pull away from the Dinos.

“One of our goals coming into the game offensively was patience and shot selection,” Grand Junction coach Dutch Johnson said. “We’ve been known to take some ill-advised shots, and tonight we were patient against their two-three zone.”

Carbon’s zone defense held Grand Junction in check in the first half as the Tigers led 23-19 at halftime.

Grand Junction made the proper adjustments at halftime, and was propelled by a big third quarter where the Tigers outscored Carbon 20-11.

“I felt our offense against the zone got better as the game went on,” Johnson said. “We were able to attack the paint more and share the ball better.”

Tommy Powers led the way for the Tigers with 21 points and Tyler Winder added 13.


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