Title for Tigers: Brady leads Junction to SWL crown
The Grand Junction High School girls basketball team never trailed Tuesday night against Montrose, but that didn’t mean the game was easy.
The Tigers’ 48-39 victory clinched the Southwestern League title.
“We expected Montrose to come in and play hard with the league title up for grabs,” Fawn Brady said. “We’re excited we won it.”
Brady opened up the game for the Tigers (15-7, 8-1 SWL) with a jumper from the corner. Later in the first quarter she found Paula Lage to put Grand Junction ahead 12-7.
“In the first half, we talked about possessions and how each one is so important,” Grand Junction coach Sam Provenza said. “We had to attack the basket.”
Brady pushed the Tigers’ lead to its biggest margin in the first half at 18-10 with two free throws.
The Indians’ Kaylee Walker responded with a 3-pointer a few possessions later, and cut the Tigers’ lead to 23-21 with another 3 with 1:24 remaining.
“She was hitting some gorgeous shots,” Provenza said. “We were having a tough time getting to her.”
Camille Goodsell’s layup with 10 seconds remaining capped a 5-0 run to end the first half, giving the Tigers a 28-21 halftime lead.
“At halftime, we said we wouldn’t let (Walker) hit any more 3s,” Brady said. “When we say we need to do something, we come out and do it.”
Grand Junction neutralized Walker in the second half, allowing her to score only one point the rest of the game.
“We didn’t let Kaylee get those shots she got in the first half,” Provenza said. “That was key.”
Although Walker wasn’t contributing as much offensively, the Indians (15-7, 7-2 SWL) didn’t go down without a fight.
With under three minutes left in the third quarter, a 3-pointer by Kelsey Meisberger brought Montrose within striking distance at 33-30.
The Tigers responded with a 6-2 run to end the quarter for a 39-32 lead.
In the fourth quarter, Montrose got within four at 41-37, but Brady iced the game going 4 for 4 from the free-throw line down the stretch.
Brady finished with 19 points, including 7 of 7 from the line.
“Free throws are huge,” Brady said. “They are the easiest shots in the game so when you have a chance for them, you have to knock them down.”
Brady also had six rebounds and three assists.
“She’s a senior, and a three-year starter,” Provenza said. “Fawn’s playing with a lot of confidence. It was a big game and she knew it.”
Lage added 10 points for the Tigers and Jamie Derrieux finished with nine.
Walker led Montrose with 14 points and Madison Gurule added 13.
The Tigers locked up the SWL title, but still have one regular season game remaining — Friday against Central.
“The league isn’t over yet,” Provenza said. “Central has been playing better lately, and they won’t lay down, they’ll come after us so we’ll be prepared for it.”