Long-range shooting lifts Montrose to title
Keltz catches fire as Indians down Delta in return of district tournament
How do you defeat a team that’s on an 18-game winning streak?
One way, as Montrose High School showed against streaking Delta on Saturday in the Class 4A Southwestern/Western Slope District girls basketball championship game, is to make 14 3-pointers.
Montrose senior Kala Keltz hit a school-record eight at Brownson Arena. They accounted for all of her 24 points in the Indians’ 67-41 win over Delta.
Freshman Holly Brooks hit four 3-pointers and scored 14 points and Stephanie Rowan had two 3s.
Tess Skoe added 13 points for the Indians.
Top-seeded Montrose (18-4) hit 10 3-pointers in the first half to help the Indians build a 41-19 lead.
Keltz dropped four 3s through the net in the first quarter alone. How does she know she’s on target?
“I can feel it in my hand when I release it,” Keltz said.
It was the first Class 4A district basketball tournament in the area since 2007. Before then, Montrose had won seven consecutive district championships, Montrose coach Eric Sanchez said.
Sanchez knows there’s no recipe for the shooting display the Indians gave the Brownson Arena crowd. But he tried explaining why it happened.
“This is just a special group,” Sanchez said. “They know how to keep each other loose, and when one girl puts the ball in the basket they tend to piggyback off each other.”
No. 2 Delta (18-4), which was led by Skylyn Webb’s 13 points, went on an 8-1 run to begin the second half, cutting the Montrose lead to 42-27.
Then Brooks hit a 3-pointer.
Keltz followed with an even deeper 3.
And the show continued.
“(Keltz) gives us all confidence to start shooting,” Brooks said.
Delta, meanwhile, hadn’t seen such shooting since D’Evelyn beat the Panthers in the Sweet 16 of last season’s state tournament, Delta coach Matt Hamm said.
“We just need to learn how to react to getting stunned,” Hamm said. “When a team comes out and stings you like that, how to react to that. We haven’t had a team do that to us since last year. So in our psyche, reacting to how to answer teams that are that hot, you’ve got to score and you’ve got to stop them from scoring.”
Keltz added her final two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, the final one with 1 minutes, 30 seconds remaining to put the Indians ahead 67-38.
She was substituted out of the game after the 3, and left the court by giving a jumping, left-handed high-five to Sanchez.
Safe to say, Montrose is ready for the state tournament.
“Our coach tells us that if we’re open, don’t pass up any shots,” Keltz said. “We like to pound the ball inside, too. So whatever’s open.”
Even before his team racked up 14 3-pointers, Sanchez already was glad about the return of the tournament.
“Absolutely,” Sanchez said. “And not just because we’re successful. This just gets the whole Western Slope to come together.”