Palisade boys get first win
It took 13 games for the Palisade High School boys basketball team to figure it out.
After going winless through their first dozen games, the Bulldogs appeared on Friday night grasp first-year coach Steve Phillips’ motion offense.
Palisade got a balanced scoring effort and did a good job of offsetting Eagle Valley’s height advance to defeat the Devils 65-50 in Palisade.
“That was the first game where we put it all together,” senior post Jake Edmiston said.
Getting off to a hot start helped. Palisade hit four of its first five shots and never trailed.
Despite going up against four players 6-foot-4 or taller, the Bulldogs found most of their success early inside the paint
That came from improvement in two areas.
Turnovers had been a problem for Palisade all season, but the Bulldogs gave it back to the Devils just 18 times on the night, one of their better outputs of the season.
“We’ve been really focusing on taking care of the ball,” Edmiston said.
Another factor was that the players did a better job of cutting to the basket in the offense.
“It’s called motion for a reason,” Phillips said. “When you move the ball, good things happen.”
That was a focus point of Phillips’ practices during the week.
“Coach harped on us all week on going hard (to the basket),” Edmiston said.
Running the offense effectively also allowed Palisade to set the pace, something it struggled to do in its previous games.
Palisade stretched a six-point first-quarter lead to 34-22 by halftime. When the Devils could connect on only two of 20 tries in the third quarter, the Bulldogs pulled away.
Jeremy Hayden led the Palisade scoring effort with 24 points and had nine rebounds. Edmiston and freshman guard Kane Gunther each scored 12 points and Rylie Josey added 10. Josey
had 13 rebounds.
“We’re doing better about not watching the ball (and getting position on shot attempts),” Phillips said.
Brett Wilson came off the bench to score 14 points to lead Eagle Valley (2-12, 0-5 Western Slope League).
Palisade hopes to carry the momentum to Eagle today when it takes on Battle Mountain, which is still seeking its first win.
Shooting woes continue for Palisade girls
The Palisade High School girls basketball team got the situation it wanted, but not the shot it wanted after rallying to erase a 10-point deficit and take the lead in the fourth quarter.
Turnovers and missed shots doomed Palisade at the end, however, as Eagle Valley held on for
a 47-45 victory.
“I don’t know why we play down (to the competition),” Bulldogs coach Toni Gunther lamented.
A season-long problem of shooting woes plagued the Bulldogs (1-12, 1-2 Western Slope League) early as they connected on only three of 20 tries from the floor in the first quarter.
The problems continued in the second quarter as Eagle Valley took a 10-point lead.
The Devils (4-9, 2-3) had their own problems, turning the ball over 21 times in the first half.
Eagle Valley led 33-24 when Palisade began finding its shooting touch, mostly from the inside, in the third quarter. Sarah Hays hit a pair of runners in the lane and the Bulldogs got baskets from Elise Heutzenroeder and Kendra Barnes off the bench to take a brief lead.
Trailing by five with 2:42 remaining in the game, Palisade hit three straight, including a three-point play by Heutzenroeder. Meghan Peters’ basket with 1:16 remaining gave the Bulldogs a 45-44 lead.
Yvette Parra hit two free throws to give the Devils back the lead. Palisade then turned the ball over on straight possessions.
Hillary Schott, who played for the Grand Junction junior varsity last season, hit one of two free shots to give the Devils a 47-45 lead with 10 seconds remaining.
Trying to set up for the tying shot, the Bulldogs couldn’t get in their offense and a forced shot with three seconds remaining was off the mark.
“We had opportunities and we didn’t finish,” Gunther said.
Palisade shot just 24 percent from the floor.
Hays led Palisade with 10 points; Odneal and Heutzenroeder each added nine, with the latter grabbing six rebounds.
“Elise is young (a freshman) but she’s doing a really good job.,” Gunther said. “She just needs some experience.”
Meghan Peters had a good game defensively with four rebounds and five steals.
“She played hard,” Gunther said.
Jamie Bair and Brenda Zapata paced the Devils with 13 and 10 points, respectively.
“We’re trying to figure it out (and) get our morale up,” Gunther said.
A victory this afternoon against Battle Mountain in Eagle could be a step in that direction.