Poor shooting dooms GJ

Jana Horn of Montrose shoots as Lisa Hughes of GJ defends

For the Grand Junction High School girls basketball team, it was the wrong night against the wrong team to not shoot the ball well.

The Tigers (6-8, 2-1 Southwestern League) shot only 11 of 53 from the field, the main reason for their 58-35 loss to Montrose on Friday night.

“I don’t think there is a good team to have an off shooting night against,” Grand Junction coach Sam Provenza said. “But when you miss some early shots, you start trying too hard. We did and we didn’t get back defensively.”

The Tigers’ scoring woes began early as they went 2 for 17 from the field in the first quarter.

With the tough start, Grand Junction trailed 16-8 heading into the second quarter. The Indians (15-1, 3-0 SWL) took advantage of Grand Junction’s misses, outscoring the Tigers 23-6 in the second — highlighted by Katie Abel’s four 3-pointers.

“That is about the fourth or fifth game where Katie has had four, five or six 3s,“ Montrose coach John Mraule said. “So we know what she can do when she gets hot.”

Abel hit a total of five 3s and was the Indians’ leading scorer with 15 points. Along with Abel, Jana Horn (12) and Hannah Bowden (13) both finished in double figures. All three players did a majority of their damage in the first half, which help propel Montrose to a 39-14 halftime lead.

“We haven’t won here in six or seven year so we knew we had to start quickly,” Mraule said. “We have beat some good teams by jumping out early and we did that again tonight.”

The Tigers outscored Montrose in the second half 21-19 but it was not enough to overcome the rough first half. Lisa Hughes had a team-high nine points. Paula Lage and Fawn Brady both had quiet nights, finishing with six points each.

“I thought we did a good job in the second half, but that game was won or lost in the first half,” Provenza said. “You can’t spot a team that many points and try to get back in 16 minutes.”

Grand Junction will have a chance to bounce back today when it hosts Eaglecrest. Provenza said he is happy to have the nonleague game as a way to get right back onto the court and get some confidence back after a tough loss.

“(Saturday) is important where we want a good effort,” Provenza said. “I am glad we are having a game and it will be a good chance to get some confidence back.”

As for Montrose, the Indians have continued to tear through the first half of the season. Mraule attributes the Indians’ success to defense.

“The first quarter our defense played well,” Mraule said. “But that has fueled us all year. I am not saying we are good team, but I think we have some pretty tough defense.”


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