Palisade boys, girls bow out of playoffs

The Palisade boys basketball team battled to the end, but couldn’t pull off an upset against Greeley Central, losing 71-63 in the first round of the Class 4A state playoffs.

The Bulldogs kept within striking distance the entire game. Down by four at the end of the first quarter, the Bulldogs tied it 24-24 at the half.

In the third quarter, the Wildcats found their stroke from beyond the arc, hitting 3-pointers to spark a 9-0 run that Palisade wouldn’t be able to match.

The Bulldogs battled in the fourth quarter, outscoring Greeley Central 24-21, and were able to pull within five with 1:30 left in the game. From there the defense sputtered.

Nate Yanez led Palisade in scoring with 24 points, including seven 3-pointers.

“Nate played great,” Palisade coach Steve Phillips said. “He played his tail off and guys just fed off of it.”

Jeremy Hayden, who the Wildcats made a point in defending, was limited to six points on three shots.

Caleb Hall finished with 12 points on six shots and Cody Bond had 10 on five. Kane Gunther, who had nine, was the only player from Palisade to hit a 3-pointer besides Yanez.

The Bulldogs also had trouble dealing with fouls. Yanez hit three free throws, which was the extent of the team’s points from the free-throw line. Greeley Central finished 19 for 28.

The Wildcats were led by Gilbert Vasquez, who hit 11 two pointers and went 5 for 5 from the free-throw line to finish with 27 points. Xzavier James paced the Wildcats with three 3-pointers and 19 points.

Despite the loss, Phillips was optimistic about his young team’s future.

“I’m proud of them,” Phillips said. “I hope they learned you have to play the mental game. You’ve got to know at all times where you are.

“Sometimes I forget we start three sophomores and one junior”

The Palisade girls basketball team struggled early, falling 60-31 to Evergreen in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs.

The Bulldogs were outscored 23-6 in the first quarter, largely because of turnovers.

“We played intimidated,” Palisade coach Toni Gunther said. “We gave them the ball and they capitalized on it.”

Although the Bulldogs were able to limit the Cougars’ scoring in the next three quarters, they weren’t able to get in a rhythm offensively.

Senior Meghan Peters, normally one of the Bulldogs’ top scorers, got in foul trouble early in the game and was held to three points, all on free throws.

Junior post player Kendra Barnes finished with 12 points, hitting four two pointers and going 4 for 6 from the free-throw line.

“She played well offensively and fought hard defensively,” Gunther said.

Nicole Routhier was Palisade’s second leading scorer with six points.

Evergreen had three players finish in double figures in scoring. Steph Weins had 12 points and Grace Beaudin and Tayler Warren both scored 10.

In the Class 5A playoffs, Boulder defeated Westminster and play at 7 p.m. on Friday at Fruita Monument.


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