Montrose girls eager to find perfect strategy for semifinals
DENVER — It’s conceivable a high school girls basketball team has never been so eager to practice.
That’s all Montrose players could talk about Saturday after eking out a 55-51 victory against Mesa Ridge in the Class 4A quarterfinals at the Manual ThunderDome, sending the Indians to the semifinals Wednesday in Boulder against Mullen.
Leading the charge — both on the court and in reminding their teammates what a good thing it is that they’ll be practicing this week — were sophomore Kaylee Walker and junior Hanna Bowden.
The tandem was unstoppable in the post, with Walker netting 20 points and 10 rebounds and Bowden scoring 16 and corralling a game-high 14 boards.
“They’re a good team and I don’t know how we pulled it off,” said Walker, who scored 17 points in the first half. “But we really did come through.”
Montrose (24-2) succeeded in limiting the effectiveness of Mesa Ridge sophomore Kaitlyn Mileto, who possesses seemingly limitless range, by fronting her with Rachel Hansen and others. Mileto managed only 10 points, including none after she made a 3-pointer on the first possession of the second half.
“It was a big thing to not let her and (Brandi Collins) shoot their 3s,” Walker said. “We saw (Mileto) shooting from the blue line, way past the 3-point line, and that’s awesome shooting.
So we had good defensive players on her.”
Montrose had defended Collins well, too, but the junior scored Mesa Ridge’s final 10 points to keep the Grizzlies in the game. Her three-point play tied it 48-48, but an inside basket by Bowden with 2:07 to play put the Indians ahead for good.
“They just told me to go in there and post up, so I did,” Bowden said. “I got open and they threw me the ball. I just turned around and shot — and hoped — and it went in.”
Hansen converted four crucial free throws in the final minute, including two with 7 seconds left after a Collins
3-pointer drew Mesa Ridge within 53-51.
The story for coach John Mraule’s Indians, though, was the dominance of Walker and Bowden.
“Their inside game definitely killed us,” said Collins, who led Mesa Ridge with 15 points.
“Usually if one of us shoots, the other one is there to rebound,” Walker said.
With Mesa Ridge (22-4) controlling the flow early, Walker erupted for eight straight points late in the first half to help send Montrose to the locker room up 33-27. Then Bowden bailed out the Indians at the end.
“I love playing with Kaylee,” Bowden said. “I’ve been playing with her all my life.”
And, as Bowden makes sure to remind, the two will practice together this week.
BROOMFIELD 78, GLENWOOD 40
The Eagles ousted the Demons from the playoffs for the second consecutive year in the Great 8.
Broomfield broke out early, outscoring Glenwood 25-7 in the first quarter.
The Eagles were particularly effective from beyond the arc, hitting 11 3-pointers.
Four Broomfield players scored in double figures, with no player scoring more than 13 points.
Katrina Selsor led all scorers with 17 for Glenwood.
Broomfield is the two-time defending state 4A champions.