Palisade girls gain confidence
Confidence can be a funny thing in sports.
Where improved skills can be achieved by practice, the best way to gain confidence is with wins and success.
After beginning the season 0-10, the Palisade High School girls basketball team is starting to feel that confidence thing.
After a Friday night win over Eagle Valley, the Bulldogs (3-11, 3-3 Western Slope League) completed a weekend league sweep Saturday night by defeating Battle Mountain 59-29.
The win improves the Bulldogs’ record to .500 in the conference for the first time in the past two seasons.
“It’s a really good feeling,” Palisade coach Toni Gunther said. “Our mentality is trying to get stronger every game and gain confidence.”
Palisade’s on-court poise showed early as the Bulldogs raced to a 19-2 first-quarter lead. The big first quarter was propelled by the Bulldogs taking advantage of an undersized Battle Mountain team, and using its inside game. Palisade post players Kendra Barnes, Bella Castleton and Kailie Wallace combined to score 12 first-quarter points.
“We were more patient on offense, and found the open look,” Gunther said. “It’s exciting to see the whole team contributing.”
The Bulldogs continued the offensive onslaught in the second quarter, stretching their lead to 35-8 by halftime.
“It was really good to have a game where we all were confident,” Palisade guard Meghan Peters said. “Between the intensity of practice and the wins, we are going through the roof.”
The Bulldogs used the second half as an opportunity to try out some new facets of their game. Palisade alternated defenses, and also employed a full-court press.
“We had a lead so we could practice some different things,” Gunther said. “We haven’t run a press too much, and we had to try it in a game.”
Offensively, Palisade was led by Wallace’s 13 points. It was the first time the 5-foot-10 junior has led the team in scoring this season.
“We are trying to improve our individual skills in practice, and that will bring confidence,” Gunther said. “Kailie did well, but it’s been different people on different days.”
Barnes added 12 and Peters finished with eight points.
Palisade has won two straight games, and was a one-point loss against Steamboat Springs away from having strung four straight games together.
“We are coming together,” Gunther said. “But we have to keep getting better.”
Palisade hosts Delta on Tuesday before tough games against Glenwood Springs and Central on Friday and Saturday.