Numbers show why the Indians are 15-1

Coach John Mraule with the Montrose girls basketball team.

There is something statistically right happening for the Montrose girls basketball team.

Don’t believe it? The numbers don’t lie.

Here is a closer numerical look at the Indians’ success this season.
15: The number of wins the Indians have this season compared to only one loss. Montrose lost early in the season to Shiprock N.M., 31-27, but has since won 13 consecutive games.

The 4A Indians have played four Class 4A Western Slope League teams, going 5-0 by dismantling Delta, Battle Mountain, Rifle and Palisade twice. The Indians started Southwestern League play strong by defeating Durango, Montezuma-Cortez and Grand Junction. During that stretch, Montrose allowed a paltry 29 points per game against the three SWL teams.

31: The Indians’ first three SWL games have been impressive defensively, but they’re nothing new for coach John Mraule, who preaches defense and always has during more than 25 years of coaching girls basketball at Montrose. This season the Indians have continued that tradition of defense, allowing only 31 points per game to its opponents.

D’Evelyn had the highest output against the Indians, scoring 46 points in a 52-46 Indians win early in the season.

“We play pretty good defense, but we have to stay out of foul trouble,” Mraule said. “I am not saying we are a great team, I am just saying we (play) some pretty tough defense.”

59: Defense may be the strength of the team, but Montrose also has other options. The Indians average 59 points points per game and have the tendency of getting off to hot starts. Against Grand Junction last Friday, Montrose started the game with a 16-8 first-quarter lead and was able to push it to 39-14 by halftime. The Indians don’t have a overly complex offense, but the Indians know how to take what the defense gives them. Hannah Bowden, a 5-foot-10 post player, does most of the work in the paint and has a knack for getting on the offensive glass. Bowden finished with 13 points and seven rebounds against Grand Junction. Katie Abel is a dangerous 3-point shooter, making five against Grand Junction. Jana Horn, Kelsie Meisberger and Kaylee Walker also contribute to the offense.

“We have been getting started quickly this year, and we have beat some pretty good teams by jumping out quickly,” Mraule said.

12:  The Indians are a young team. There is no arguing that, with Montrose’s three freshmen and two sophomores on the varsity roster, all of whom get playing time. Where Montrose is not young is at one of the most important positions, the point guard. No. 12 Rachel Hansen is a four-year starter who is lighting quick at the position. A southpaw, the 5-foot-1 Hansen is looked upon to be a true point guard, with her main job distributing the ball and getting the team into its offense more than scoring. Much of the Indians’ success has depended on Hansen’s ability.

“You can’t lose a kid like Rachel or (Katerina) Garcia from Durango or (Amy) Kame at Central and still be successful,” Mraule said. “She is hard to defend and we haven’t had trouble with any press this year, whether that be a zone press or a man press.”

5: It’s been five seasons since Montrose won the SWL title outright. The Indians have the opportunity to do that again this season, but will have to compete night in and night out in hostile environments around the SWL. Mraule said he knows the league is going to be tough and physical.

“It is a tough league and there is no night to take off,”  Mraule said. “I think we will have to be able to get up and down the floor.”

In five days, the Indians face what could be the toughest challenge of the season, hosting another balanced team — Kame and the Central Warriors. The game tips off at 6 p.m. on Friday in Montrose.


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