Palisade the first team to get back on the court after two-week layoff

Palisade High School basketball coach Steve Phillips gets down low to slap hands with his players as they run past during a drill.

Season number two for the local high school basketball teams begins today.

Returning to the court after more than a two-week break, there are a full slate of games this week.

The Central girls (4-4) will be traveling to Kirtland, N.M. to play in the Webb Toyota Invitational, which runs Thursday through Saturday.

The Central boys (9-0) will also be on the road, taking on George Washington on Friday and Chatfield on Saturday. The Warriors have cruised to their undefeated record, but will be tested against two 5A schools that are a combined 14-1.

Fountain-Fort Carson’s girls and boys team will be making the trip over the mountain this weekend to play a doubleheader with Fruita Monument (boys 4-6, girls 3-5) on Friday and Grand Junction (boys 5-3, girls 3-7) on Saturday. Fruita Monument’s girls will test their ability to travel, as the Wildcats turn around to play at Westminster on Saturday at 2 p.m.

Palisade tips off the second season tonight with the first in a trio of home games this week.

Palisade plays Rifle on Friday and Glenwood Springs on Saturday.

TODAY’S Boys Game

Montrose at Palisade, 7:30 p.m.

Records: Montrose (7-3), Palisade (0-7)

Previous Meeting: Montrose defeated Palisade on Dec. 20, 79-58.

Facts: Even with the double-digit loss, Palisade head coach Steve Phillips said the Montrose game was the best game the Bulldogs have played so far. Tonight’s game is the second home game for the Bulldogs. Montrose comes in with a five-game winning streak.

Key Players: Mac Alexander, Montrose. The bulky senior (5-10, 180) is a dangerous shooter who has the ability to drive to the basket. Alexander scored 18 points in the last meeting, including four 3-pointers.

Kane Gunther, Palisade. The freshman point guard has been given a trial by fire early in the season, but improved to score 11 points in the previous meeting with the Indians. He will have to limit his turnovers against a talented Montrose team.

TODAY’S Girls game

Montrose at Palisade, 6 p.m.

Records: Montrose (9-1), Palisade (0-7)

Previous Meeting: Montrose topped Palisade 85-36 during the Black Canyon Invitational.

Facts: Montrose is returning from a trip to last year’s Sweet 16 and hasn’t slowed down. The Indians haven’t played great competition so far this season —best wins coming against Conifer and D’Evelyn — but that doesn’t take away from the team’s hot start. Palisade has struggled in the first half of the season, losing its seven games by an average of 22 points. The Bulldogs are beginning to see growth from the young team, but need a win to regain confidence.

Key Players: Rachel Hansen, Montrose. Hansen has had to pick up a scoring role as the Indians lost some key cogs from last season. A versatile scorer, Hansen, along with Kyra Earle, is looked upon to do a majority of the scoring.
Elise Heutzenroeder, Palisade. At 5-foot-10, the freshman Heutzenroeder can help relieve some of the inside pressure on senior Holly Odneal. Heutzenroeder isn’t relied on to score, just to play defense and grab rebounds when she’s on the court.


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