Tigers’ Derrieux earns SWL Player of Year award
For the first time in her high school basketball career, Grand Junction senior Jamie Derrieux has been selected the Southwestern League Player of the Year.
Derrieux averaged 21 points and led Grand Junction to a 19-5 record and Class 5A state tournament appearance.
Also for the Tigers, freshman Sydni Brandon was a first-team all conference selection and Sam Provenza was a co-coach of the year, along with Eric Sanchez of Montrose.
Provenza said he doesn’t think there were any players in the league with the versatility of Derrieux, who is headed to Northern Colorado.
“She’s as capable of getting to the basket as well as anybody,” Provenza said. “And her size creates so many problems when she does get to the basket. And she shoots the ball pretty good.”
Brandon, meanwhile, was that rare freshman first-teamer.
“That doesn’t happen very often,” Provenza said. “She’s not your typical freshman.”
Fruita Monument also touted a pair of first-teamers, Jessica Sinner and Lauren LaBonde.
Montrose’s Kala Keltz also made the first team.
For the boys, Fruita Monument’s Drew Bridges was the SWL player of the year for the third consecutive season.
Bridges averaged 22 points, 12 rebounds, 3.6 steals and 3 blocks in leading Fruita Monument to the Sweet 16 in Class 5A.
Bridges has dominated the league the past three seasons.
“I think a lot of it is a presence on the court and feeling and thinking ahead about what play I’m going to do based on how he’s playing me,” Bridges said. “It just goes back to working hard on defense and getting those easy transition baskets.”
Retiring Wildcats coach Dave Fox was the coach of the year and forward Alex Padgett (17.7 points) cracked the first team.
Montrose’s Nathan Hawley and Cameron Jones and Grand Junction’s Casey Burns and Broderick Robinson were first-teamers.