Speedy ‘Cats

Fast-break offense keys Fruita's win over Olathe

Fruita Monument’s Lauren LaBonde is fouled Tuesday night by Olathe’s Tawni Middleton, right, on a drive to the basket in the Wildcats’ 54-29 victory at Brownson Arena. LaBonde had 10 points and eight assists in the win.

For a few opening minutes Tuesday, like an eight-cylinder engine grinding and cracking and expanding in a morning freeze, the Fruita Monument High School girls basketball team waited to warm.

“I think we had just come back form a long trip in New Mexico, and we really wanted to play well together,” Fruita Monument guard Lauren LaBonde said. “Sometimes that happens. And all that matters is that we brought it.”

The Wildcats brought traps on Olathe’s guards and fast breaks that included more passes than dribbles in a 54-29 win over Class 3A Olathe at Colorado Mesa University’s Brownson Arena.

Fruita (8-4) was led by Sam Parks’ 14 points.

Also for the Wildcats, LaBonde had 10 points and eight assists.

Amanda Kinterknecht led Olathe (7-2) with six points.

But it was Olathe’s Haley Turley that Fruita Monument coach Richard Atkins wanted to slow.

“Their shooter,” Atkins said. “We wanted to take her out of the game.”

When Turley dribbled, Fruita trapped. Turley managed three points, none of which came in a two-point second quarter for Olathe. Fruita outscored Olathe 19-2 in the quarter and the oil in the engine that was Fruita’s fast break was hot.

“The goal is to develop basketball players and basketball mentality,” Atkins said. “Basketball mentality is knowing when to drive, when to shoot, when to not shoot. Don’t force anything, and if you don’t have anything, pull it back.”

But Fruita had plenty. Particularly in the second half. Aside from its height advantage with Vanessa Herrera, Taylor Eatwell and Kassidy Fair, Fruita had speed.

LaBonde usually was involved. Some fourth-quarter combinations included LaBonde to Herrera to Parks. Throw Fair in there for the outlet pass on occasion. The combinations continued.

“It’s just awesome,” LaBonde said. “Even when you’re not in there on the action, say it’s an outlet to the other side, it’s awesome to watch our girls trust each other and make the open pass to an open teammate and not be selfish.”

Parks, who said she plans on attending medical school, sees the chemistry.

“I think it’s really just us getting along as teammates,” Parks said. “We encourage each other.”

Eden Laase added eight points and two 3-pointers for Fruita.

Fruita hosts Montezuma-Cortez at 5:30 p.m. Friday and Durango at noon Saturday.

Olathe travels to play Aspen at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

Rifle 47, Palisade 30: Chante Church scored 20 points to lead Rifle to a 4A Western Slope League win. Joey Kuheim and Jasmine Figueira added 13 and 10 points, respectively for the Bears (7-3, 5-1).

Rifle broke the game open by outscoring the Bulldogs 18-4 in the third quarter.

“Our defense picked up, and were able to get some steals and that led to some offense,” Rifle assistant coach Chris Lowther said, adding the Bears played a trapping defense.

Cruz Maestas led Palisade with 16 points.


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