Skoe’s unlikely 3 helps Indians top ‘Dogs

She said she never shoots 3-pointers, and that she rarely makes them.

But she added: “You only live once.”

And so Montrose High School guard Tess Skoe, with the game pace slow and the scoring low, pulled up Thursday night for a second-quarter 3-pointer that hit the right side of the rim, nicked the back, then curled through the hoop.

The crawling pace was broken, and top-seeded Montrose cruised to a 40-27 win over eighth-seeded Palisade in their Class 4A Southwestern/Western Slope District tournament at Brownson Arena.

“I never shoot 3s,” Skoe said. “I just shot it because I was open. Just take a chance. YOLO.”

And there it was, the acronym meaning “you only live once,” and Montrose (16-4) lived to advance to the semifinals to play fifth-seed Glenwood Springs (13-6) at 6 p.m. today.

Palisade (9-12) plays seventh-seed Eagle Valley (12-9) at 3 p.m. today at Central High School in a semifinal of the fifth-place bracket.

Skoe’s 3-pointer gave Montrose a 15-9 lead. Seconds later, Kala Keltz checked back into the game and immediately hit a step-back 3-pointer. Then, after Skoe found Elise Hill for a layup, Montrose was up 20-9.

“We knew (Palisade) was going to come out and defend like crazy,” Montrose coach Eric Sanchez said.

For Montrose, Keltz scored a game-high 13 points, Skoe added nine points, and Emily Thorp and Hill chipped in six points apiece.

“We didn’t start off at full speed,” Thorp said after the game as she ate a Rice Krispies treat and held two bottles of chocolate milk. “We were nervous.”

Playing in the large gym at Brownson Area for the first time caused some low-scoring first quarters Thursday. But the arena draped with championship banners and peppered with advertisements didn’t faze Keltz. The Montrose senior guard hit three 3-pointers.

“During warmups at halftime and then before the game you get a chance to get a feel for it,” Keltz said.

Keltz hit a 3-pointer one minute into the game. But the Indians led only 6-4 after the first quarter and 11-9 midway through the second.

Despite Montrose’s brief 3-point shooting outburst that included Skoe’s first 3-pointer of the season, Palisade, which was led by Cruz Maestas’ seven points, hung around. Maestas hit a 3-pointer in the third quarter and was fouled. She made the free throw to complete the four-point play, bringing Palisade within 26-15. The Bulldogs got as close as 35-26 on an Ashlyn Brown free throw late in the fourth quarter.

Sanchez said he expects Montrose’s game against Glenwood Springs today to be different.

“They have good size, good scorers, and they have speed,” Sanchez said. “The pace will be much faster than what you saw tonight.”


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