Prep Notebook: Bulldogs hoping for hot start in basketball

The past two seasons haven’t started very well for the Palisade High School girls basketball team.

During coach Toni Gunther’s first two seasons, the Bulldogs have gotten off to 0-10 starts each year, but in the Bulldogs’ defense, the schedule wasn’t very forgiving.

Palisade’s previous non-league schedule consisted of Fruita Monument’s Wildcat Invitational and the Montrose Tournament, in addition to a season opener against Fruita Monument.

In those tournaments in 2009, the Bulldogs had to play Central (a 72-16 loss), Grand Junction (57-20) and Montrose (41-27).

The shaky starts put the Bulldogs at a disadvantage heading into the Western Slope League season, trying to dig out of an 0-10 start.

With that in mind, the Bulldogs took steps to lighten up the nonleague schedule, playing smaller schools instead of Class 5A competition.

The Bulldogs open at the Meeker Tournament this weekend, followed by games against Aspen, Coal Ridge and Hotchkiss.

The Bulldogs are hosting their own tournament Dec.  16-18, playing Montezuma-Cortez, Rifle and Moffat County.

“I didn’t have a lot to do with the schedule except I asked (Palisade Athletic Director) Mike (Krueger) if we could get a different look, so he took that and went with it,” Gunther said. “We are going to be able to see some different teams and hopefully can get some confidence and success right off the bat.”

The Bulldogs play Mancos at 3 p.m. on Thursday.

A little extra

The Central High School gymnasium is basketball central this weekend.

The boys Warrior Challenge begins Thursday at 3:15 with Fruita Monument playing Longmont.

The tournament continues Friday and Saturday, with four games a day. The final game is scheduled for 3:15 on Saturday featuring host Central against Carbon County, Utah.

After the three-day tournament is a girls game Saturday between Central and Pine Creek at 5 p.m.

Pine Creek is the preseason No. 10 team in the Denver Post.

Central Athletic Director Randy Powell said Pine Creek wanted to schedule more than one of the District 51 schools, but the Warriors were the only team that had the date open.

Grand Junction is at the Dakota Ridge Tournament, Palisade is at the Meeker Tournament and Fruita Monument is playing at Mullen.

Can’t Make it Over?

There are plenty of ways to follow the four high school football championship games Saturday.

The Class 5A game between Regis Jesuit and Mullen at 2:30 p.m. at Invesco Field at Mile High will be shown live at chsaa.tv and broadcast on KOA (850-AM).

The 4A game between Wheat Ridge and Valor Christian has the same options for its 11 a.m. kickoff.

The 3A game between Elizabeth and Glenwood Springs can be heard on KMTS, 99.1-FM out of Glenwood Springs.

The 2A game between Brush and Olathe will be streamed at KATR (98.3-FM) and KSIR (1010-AM).

If you do plan to attend the games, tickets can be purchased in advance at chsaa.org.

Slim Pickings

The Denver Post recently released its top 10 polls for basketball, and the Western Slope wasn’t well represented.

In the boys rankings, only Rifle in 3A and Hayden in 2A made their way into the poll. Both teams are ranked No. 9.

On the girls side, Montrose is ranked No. 10 in 4A, Olathe No. 4 in 3A, Rifle No. 9 in 3A and defending state champion Paonia is No. 3 in 2A.

Montrose’s Brian Davidson and Kaylee Walker are listed as players to watch, as well as Olathe’s Emily Brummit.

State recognition

Six Western Slope wrestling programs received a top-10 preseason ranking, released by On the Mat.

Defending Southwestern League champion Montrose is fourth in Class 4A led by returning state placers Geordan Hudson, Kordell Bradshaw and Bryce Gaber.

Palisade is ranked eighth led by returning state placers Justin Ray and Daniel Salazar. Delta is 10th led by state placers Mykal DeHerrera and Rudy Fantin.

In 3A, Olathe is ranked sixth, but will be without returning state champion and No. 1 ranked Kyle Piatt, who is playing for a state football title, for the first few weeks. The Pirates have five returning state qualifiers. Hotchkiss is ranked ninth, led by top-ranked Ryan Spor at 145 pounds and Kyle Douglass at heavyweight.

Paonia is ranked eighth in 2A with five returning state qualifiers.


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