Loss to Durango ‘frustrating’ for Fruita girls

A great comeback by the Fruita Monument High School girls basketball team was thwarted by a tormenting 1.5 seconds that led to overtime.

Durango outscored the Wildcats 10-4 in extra period to pick up a key 53-47 Southwestern League win Friday night.

The Wildcats led 43-41 with less than five seconds remaining in regulation when a foul sent Durango’s Katie Wiegert to the line. The junior calmly swished both pressure-packed free throws to force OT. Then, junior Kaitlyn Doughty scored the first six points of overtime, and Wiegert made another four free throws to seal the win for the Demons.

Vanessa Herrera, who scored 24 points for the Wildcats, said the loss was disappointing.

“Not only did we let this game slip away, but also the Grand Junction game (a week ago). It’s really frustrating,” the senior said.

Fruita Monument (8-12, 4-3 SWL) ran into a sizzling Durango team early. Wiegert, who just returned from an injury, was red-hot, scoring the first seven points of the game. The lead was 9-0 before Kassidy Fair hit a bucket with 3:50 remaining in the first quarter. The Demons (5-9, 3-3 SWL) upped the lead to 12 points in the second quarter.

Wiegert finished with 16 points and hit seven of eight free throws in the fourth quarter and overtime.

The Wildcats got their first lead of the game at 33-32 when Herrera hit a turnaround jumper early in the fourth.

Herrera, who dominated in the paint for much of the game, took a brilliant pass from Fair to score a layup to give the Wildcats their biggest lead at 37-34.

When Herrera hit a bank shot off a pass from Mariah Love, the lead was 41-39 with 1:30 remaining in regulation.

The Demons forced a jump ball after Herrera grabbed a rebound off a free throw miss to give them one last chance. That’s when Wiegert was fouled and went to the line.

The Wildcats lost both Fair and Taylor Eatwell to fouls in the fourth quarter.

Durango head coach Nancy Smith said rebounding was key, especially after losing to Fruita Monument 48-32 back on Jan. 18.

“They beat us handily, and they outrebounded us. We let them get a lot of second shots. Since then, we’ve been working a lot on our rebounding,” Smith said.


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