Solid effort helps Palisade go 3-0 in Rotary Club invite

Palisade’s Kane Gunther rises to the basket to score two of his 21 points on Saturday during the Bulldogs’ 81-50 victory over Rifle in the Palisade Sunrise Rotary Club Invitational.

Christmas break came too early for the Palisade High School boys basketball team.

The Bulldogs played possibly their best game of the season going into the break, defeating Rifle 81-50 on Saturday to go 3-0 in the Palisade Sunrise Rotary Club Invitational.

“That’s probably the best overall we’ve played (this season),” Palisade coach Steve Phillips said. “We put all the pieces together.

“That’s what I told them. It (upsets) me we have to practice for a week. I’d rather play tomorrow, we’re doing a lot of good things. I’m excited to see what we can do.”

Kyle Monger led Palisade (7-2) with 22 points. Kane Gunther scored 21 and Connor Whaley added 10 for the Bulldogs.

“Kyle is gaining more confidence all the time,” Phillips said. “A couple games ago, we took him out of the starting lineup and put Connor in as a point guard. Kyle didn’t blink an eye. Caleb (Hall) got hurt, so we reinsert Kyle and he played great today.”

Palisade scored a season-high 81 points, but it was the defense that got the Bulldogs going. Rifle shot 35 percent from the floor.

“We’re so solid defensively,” Phillips said. “We’re playing great team defense. We’ve got a lot of depth and we’re getting better at not fouling.”

The offense started clicking for Palisade in the second quarter. The Bulldogs closed out the first half on an 11-5 run to take a 34-24 halftime lead then opened the second half with an 11-1 run to push the lead to 43-25. Palisade continued to pull away in the fourth.

Isaiah Sims of Cheyenne South (Wyo.) won the boys Gabe Hellman Most Valuable Person award named in honor of Hellmann, who died six months ago. Hellmann won the MVP trophy of the inaugural tournament last year. Sims had 20 points Saturday in the Bisons’ 47-45 loss to Montezuma-Cortez.

Hinkley Holiday Classic: A solid third quarter helped Fruita Monument (8-2) capture third place with a 73-64 victory over Smoky Hill.

Drew Bridges led four Wildcats in double figures with 20 points.

Dakota Ridge pulled away in the second half to defeat Central 74-41 in the seventh-place game.

Taylor Sanchez and Trey Fair each scored 10 points for Central (0-9).

Girls Basketball

Rifle went on a 12-0 run in the fourth quarter to defeat Palisade 47-35 in the Palisade Sunrise Rotary Club Invitational.

Joey Kuheim led the Bears with 19 points. Chante Church added 13.

Palisade’s Emily Crow scored four points in the loss. She received the girls MVP trophy.

Cheyenne South defeated Montezuma-Cortez 64-37 in the other game.

Olathe 43, Fruita Monument 41: Trailing by four points heading into the fourth quarter, the Pirates outscored the Wildcats 12-8 in the Black Canyon Classic at Montrose.

Tawni Middleton led Olathe with 14 points and Kylie Tait chipped in 13.

Lauren LaBonde led Fruita (4-4) with 15 points.

Moffat County 49, Fruita Monument 45: After letting a lead slip away against Olathe earlier in the day, the Wildcats again struggled in the fourth quarter against the Bulldogs.

“Talent-wise, we’re fine,” Fruita coach Dan Schmalz said. “There are a few things we could have done differently.”

LaBonde led the Wildcats with 12 points.

Melissa Camilletti led all scorers with 17 points.

Moffat County 47, Grand Junction 46: A frantic fourth-quarter rally wasn’t enough for the Tigers at the Black Canyon Classic.

“We played catch-up all game and never could push it over the top,” Grand Junction coach Sam Provenza said.

Jamie Derrieux’s 17 points led all scorers.

Grand Junction 61, Roosevelt 47: The Tigers (8-3) rode the offense of Derrieux and a strong defensive effort to an easy win over the Roughriders.

“We played better team defense,” Provenza said. “We didn’t let Roosevelt get in a rhythm.”

Derrieux scored 28 points, Shafer Rubalcaba had 12 and Sydni Brandon 10.

Westminster 59, Central 54: A furious fourth-quarter rally wasn’t quite enough for the Warriors.

Down 47-24, Central outscored Westminster 30-12 in the fourth quarter.


Montrose won 11 individual events and two relay races to win the Montrose Invitational with 656 points.

The Indians’ Christine Hurford won the 50-yard butterfly (27.11), the 200 freestyle (2:04.63) and the 100 butterfly (1:00.46). Logan Morris won the 100 breaststroke (1:10.41) and the 200 breaststroke (2:32.93) for Montrose.

Grand Junction’s Taylor Kidd took first in the 200 butterfly (2:27.97).


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