Miscues costly for Fruita boys in tourney loss

HIGHLANDS RANCH — The first two-and-a-half minutes of Thursday’s game told the story for the Fruita Monument boys basketball team.

The Wildcats turned the ball over four times against Rock Canyon in the host team’s Winter Classic tournament and couldn’t even get a shot off until 3:32 had expired.

By that time, the Jaguars had a 5-0 advantage. It was hardly an insurmountable lead, but the tone was set as the Wildcats (2-6) went down in defeat 75-34.

“A little bit of pressure, and we’re just turning it over left and right,” Fruita Monument coach Billy Dreher said. “We weren’t able to get a shot off.”

The Wildcats gave the ball back eight times in the first quarter as the Jaguars’ pressure led not only to turnovers, but easy baskets on the other end. Rock Canyon hit 10 of 14 field goal attempts in the first quarter in building a 26-10 lead.

In what has become a trend, Fruita Monument put the opponent on the free-throw line frequently as the Jaguars shot 23 free throws on the night, making 16.

Once the Wildcats began to handle the pressure, they were able to hang with the Jaguars but still struggled to convert on the offensive end, hitting only 10 of 38 field goal attempts.

“A lot of it is staying in the game, just that will to come back,” said Fruita Monument senior Matt Story, who led the Wildcats with 12 points.

Dreher said conversions on the offensive end are a focus at this point in the season.

“We’ve got to finish those (close-in) shots,” he said, adding that shooting well from the outside is also a need at this point.

“A lot of it is missing easy layups,” Story said, “just finishing.”

The Wildcats continue tournament play at 4 p.m. today against Palmer, which lost big to Overland in its tournament opener Thursday.

Fruita concludes round-robin play Saturday morning against Overland.


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