Junction boys clinch SWL title with victory
Winning its eighth straight game by double digits, the Grand Junction High School boys basketball team locked up the Southwestern League title Saturday afternoon with a 63-47 victory at Durango.
Broderick Robinson paced the Tigers (18-2, 8-0) with 23 points, and D.J. Wells scored a season-high 19 points.
Grand Junction led 40-13 at halftime and never trailed as Wells powered through a tall Demons squad. Robinson hit four 3-pointers, tied for a season high. The 16 points is the smallest margin of victory the Tigers have had in a league game this season.
Grand Junction, which hasn’t lost since Dec. 21, sits at No. 9 in the Class 5A rankings. The Tigers also are in the top 20 of the MaxPreps Class 5A rankings, and they’re poised to pick up a high seeding in the 5A postseason.
Delta 53, Palisade 51, OT: Kenny Wood hit a 30-foot 3-pointer to force overtime as the senior guard helped lift Delta to a senior night victory in a Class 4A Western Slope League contest.
Skyler Miller led the Bulldogs (12-8, 9-5 WSL) with 14 points, and Zach Marengo added 10 points.
Keaton Reiher led the Panthers (10-10, 8-6 WSL) with 13 points, and Wood chipped in 12.
The Bulldogs trailed 34-16 at halftime, but they began hitting shots during the second half to close the gap and eventually took the lead with less than a minute remaining. Wood’s shot sent the game into overtime, and a late travel call sank Palisade’s chance at its own last-second shot.
Coach Brian Tafel said the Bulldogs tightened up defensively in the second half and gave themselves a chance to win. He lauded Palisade’s character despite the loss.
“Overall, I thought it took a big team defensive effort to make that comeback,” Tafel said. “I thought we really stepped it up in the second half, and it showed our character with us making that comeback on the road and during their senior night.”
Rifle 47, Battle Mountain 33: Wyatt Robinson scored 12 points and pulled down 13 rebounds to help Rifle, which limped to a win after clinching the 4A Western Slope League title Friday. Rifle coach Roger Walters said the Bears (15-3, 12-2 WSL) came out flat against Battle Mountain’s 2-3 zone but eventually cracked it.
Montrose 74, Montezuma-Cortez 56: Montrose (8-11, 3-7) had lost five of its past six SWL games, but it closed out the regular season on a high note with a win over Montezuma-Cortez.
Feeding Tori Catlett and Sarah Wilkinson in the post, as well as utilizing high-low post passing, Grand Junction (19-2, 7-1 SWL) cruised to a 57-47 Southwestern League win.
Catlett scored 17 points, and Wilkinson finished with 14 points and eight assists.
“We just kept feeding the ball inside,” Tigers coach Sam Provenza said. “Sarah really did a great job at the high post, and she fed Tori in the low post well. The both of them handled the boards well, and we were able to use our size.”
Montrose 41, Montezuma-Cortez 33: With the victory, Montrose (13-7, 8-2 SWL) can secure part of the league title if Grand Junction drops either of its final two games.
Rifle 52, Battle Mountain 42: Chante Church scored 17 points to lift Rifle to a 4A WSL win. The Bears (9-9, 9-5 WSL) outscored Battle Mountain 16-2 in the first quarter. Emily Nueroth, Kailee Cordova and Church each had three steals.
Plateau Valley 55, Soroco 54: Plateau Valley held off a hot-shooting Soroco team to notch a 2A/1A WSL victory. Audrey Rose Kachin matched her previous season high with 15 points and Randy Showalter added 15 points.