One bad frame: Poor third quarter hurts Fruita girls in loss

Montrose’s Jana Horn scores two of her 18 points Tuesday night as Fruita’s Taylor Johnson defends in the Indians’ 44-41 win.

There are always moments athletes would like to have back.

Tuesday night against Montrose, the Fruita Monument High School girls basketball team wishes it could have a do-over on the third quarter.

The Wildcats were outscored 13-4, and it played a big role in their 44-41 loss to the Indians.

“You lose by three points and get outscored by nine points in a quarter,” Fruita Monument coach Dan Schmalz said. “That was the difference.”

Fruita Monument (9-8, 2-2 Southwestern League) had a 19-17 halftime lead, but didn’t score in the first 4:35 of the third quarter. Keila Utu broke the slump with an inside bucket and Eden Laase added two free throws. Despite not scoring for a majority of the quarter, the Wildcats only trailed 25-23.

After Laase’s free throws, the Indians (13-4, 4-0 SWL) responded with Kaylee Walker’s 3-pointer. Montrose’s mini-run at the end of the quarter gave the Indians a 30-23 lead.

“That was really important to get that cushion,” Montrose coach Eric Sanchez said. “We knew they were a really good comeback team.”

The Wildcats made their run, cutting the lead to 34-33 on Megan Reynoso’s 3-pointer with 3:37 left.

Montrose answered immediately with another Walker 3-pointer.

“That hurt because it was off of a loose ball,” Schmalz said. “Taylor (Johnson) was going to get it and it just rolled to (Walker), and she shoots the ball well.”

Fruita Monument showed its resiliency, tying the game at 38-38 when Johnson grabbed an offense rebound and scored. She put the Wildcats ahead 39-38 on a free throw with 55 seconds left.

“We had to go to the bucket,” Johnson said. “We wanted to defend our home court after we had such a good weekend (wins over Montezuma-Cortez and Durango).”

The Indians retook the lead on a three-point play by Madison Gurule on the ensuing possession.

“We knew it was going to be a dogfight tonight,” Sanchez said.

Reynoso brought the Wildcats within one at 42-41 on a free throw, but Fruita couldn’t regain the lead.

“We had a chance to tie it, and those are the hardest games to lose,” Schmalz said. “The girls are upset about it, and rightfully so. We’ll get better from it.”

Johnson attacked the basket and finished with 18 points, four blocks and four rebounds.

“We have to have the mindset of getting to the basket,” Schmalz said. “It doesn’t matter who gets in our way.”

Jana Horn led Montrose with 18 points, including going 10 for 10 from the free-throw line. She scored six of the Indians’ 13 points in the third quarter.

“Anytime you can go on the road in this league and get a win, you are doing a good job,” Sanchez said. “We know we have some good basketball teams coming up, so we’ll have to get back to work.”


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