Strength lifts Fruita girls past Central

Physical post play was the name of the game Tuesday between the Fruita Monument and Central girls basketball teams.

After six lead changes and three ties, Fruita pulled away, winning 68-40.

“We have to be ready for a physical game like that,” Fruita coach Dan Schmalz said. “Whoever we play out of the top 48 teams, Central is playing as well as one of them. They gave us a good challenge tonight.”

Both teams were perfect from the 3-point line during an 11-minute span in the second and third quarters, combining for 5-of-5 shooting.

Fruita’s Jessica Sinner drained a 3-pointer in each of the first three quarters and had 10 points. Brittany Hoppe and Jordan Eller each had a 3 for Central and finished with 11 and eight points, respectively.

Strong post play and free-throw shooting allowed Fruita to extend its lead with with a 29-point fourth quarter. The Wildcats shot 9 of 11 from the free-throw line and posts Vanessa Herrera, Kassidy Fair and Ashley Martin combined for 10 points in the paint during the fourth quarter.

Herrera led scoring with 14 points and had 11 rebounds.

“We stopped being so passive on defense,” Schmalz said. “We were proactive instead of reactive. We have four or five post players and we try and hit each other hard in practice, but I still think (the physicality) caught us off guard early in the game.”

Fruita faces Montrose, who is tied for the SWL lead with Grand Junction. Fruita lost to Montrose 36-28 earlier in the year, but were playing without leading scorer Lauren LaBonde, who was out with a broken finger.

Central will face rival Grand Junction for its senior night game.

Montrose 47, Grand Junction 37: The Indians ended the Tigers’ perfect SWL season and their 11-game winning streak by swarming senior Jamie Derrieux and hitting some early shots.

“They double- and triple-teamed Jamie and we were without Sydni (Brandon),” Grand Junction coach Sam Provenza said. Brandon is out with an ankle sprain for probably another week and a half.

Without Brandon, the Indians could concentrate on Derrieux, who averages 22 points a game, and held her to 13. Bree Baldwin and Shafer Rubalcaba each scored 8 for the Tigers.

“She just does so many things. You don’t realize how much she controls the game until she’s not on the floor,” Provenza said of Brandon. “We missed a lot of easy shots early and we let (Kala) Keltz get away from us a couple of times and she hit three 3s in the first half.”

Keltz ended up with nine points for the Indians (13-9, 8-1). all in the first quarter on those three 3-pointers.

Montrose moved into a tie for the SWL lead with the Tigers (18-4, 8-1).


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