Good defensive play by Central highlight of loss to Pueblo West
Central High School girls basketball coach Mary Doane called it an encouraging loss.
The 61-41 loss to Pueblo West on Saturday at Brownson Arena was not as much of a blowout as it appeared on the scoreboard.
“In my mind, this is one of the best games they’ve played this year, and it’s because of their defensive effort and how well they played together as a team,” Doane said.
After falling behind by 13 points at the half, the Warriors battled back to cut the lead to four and made it a game early in the fourth quarter.
Class 4A’s sixth-ranked Cyclones grabbed control of the game in the second quarter on a 3-pointer by Shannon Sanchez and a three-point play from Bri Rodriguez. A 13-2 run gave Pueblo West (7-2) a 26-13 lead at the half.
Things got worse for the Warriors early in the third when Haley Simental converted a three-point play to put the Cyclones up 29-13.
Then things started going Central’s way. A 3-pointer by Taryn Smith and a jumper by Makenzie Lange got the rally started. Then, 5-foot-1 junior Amanda Etcheverry energized the Warriors with her play at both ends of the court. The Central sparkplug had a monster quarter, scoring eight points, grabbing five rebounds and coming up with a steal to lead the Warriors on an 11-1 run to cut the lead to 36-29 to end the third.
The run went to 14-1 when Etcheverry hit freshman Sierra Batchelor on the wing, where she drained a 3-pointer to slice the lead to 36-32 to start the fourth.
A baseline drive by Central’s D’Kota Brodie kept the lead at four, but the Cyclones’ pressure defense took over and snuffed the Warriors’ upset bid. Good defense and a healthy dose of Simental brought all of the momentum back to Pueblo West.
Simental, who had 24 points the previous night against Grand Junction, hadn’t been looking for her shot through much of the game. But in the fourth, she turned it on, scoring 10 straight to push the lead to 48-34. The junior scored 16 of her 29 points in the fourth quarter.
Many of her scoring chances came from the Cyclones’ pressure defense.
“We want to pressure. That’s kind of our signature,” Pueblo West head coach Gil Lucero said. “We want to play man-to-man defense and trap whenever we can.”
The trapping defense tormented the Warriors in the final quarter.
Doane said she was disappointed with the fourth quarter but pleased with the first three, even though the Warriors trailed at the half.
“I thought we played three good quarters,” she said. “We held a good team to 26 points in the first half, and we gave ourselves a chance.
“Some loose balls didn’t go our way, and we need to get better at getting rebounds, but we’re doing a lot of good things.”
Smith led the Warriors (1-7) with 11 points, including two 3-pointers in the third quarter. Cassidy Bryant and Etcheverry each finished with eight points.
Castle View 40, Montrose 22: The Indians led 7-6 after the first quarter, but were outscored 10-4 in the second quarter as they fell to the Sabercats, the eighth-ranked team in Class 5A, at the Rampart New Year’s Classic.
Kyle Freeburg scored more than 20 points for the fourth time this season, leading Montrose to a 65-46 win over Roosevelt at the Rampart New Year’s Classic.
The 6-foot-6 forward led the Indians with 21 points and six rebounds. Freeburg, a junior, hit three 3-pointers and was part of a Montrose team that shot 72 percent from the field, a season-high.
Ross Barney added 13 points for Montrose, and Cole Aucker and Jake Miller scored 10 points each.
Fruita Monument won its first four duals to reach the championship at the Mountain View Duals in Orem, Utah, but the Wildcats lost 45-28 to Wasatch.
Fruita defeated four other Utah schools, beating Provo 58-12, Skyline 65-15, West Lake 54-21 and Mountain View 39-22. Four Wildcats finished the day 5-0: Ian Konrad (126 pounds); Max McLean (132); Jacob Seely (195) and Chase Clayton (220).
■ Central won its first dual of the day, then dropped its final three, to finish 5-4 at the two-day Border War dual tournament in Rock Hill, S.C.
The Warriors beat Lancaster 60-18, then lost 42-28 to Piedmont, 49-28 to host South Pointe and 46-28 to Aynor. Each opponent was a South Carolina school. Central gave up forfeits at 106 and 152 in each dual.
Two Warriors finished the tournament with 9-0 records: Riley Garner-Orr (113) and Isaac Bair (170). Bair was selected the tournament’s outstanding wrestler of the upper weights.
“That was a pleasant surprise,” Central coach Laurence Gurule said of Bair’s award. “He pinned a lot of guys. He looked good. He just wrestled well, had a good tournament.”
Jacob Haydon (160) finished the tourney 8-1 for Central, and teammate Rowdy Allen (195) was 7-2.