Up to the challenge: Pollock, Daniels lead Wildcats past Bears at Warrior Challenge

Pollock, Daniels lead Wildcats past Bears at Warrior Challenge

Fruita Monument’s James Lewis tips a shot at the basket during the Friday’s game against Bear Creek during the Warrior Classic at Central High School.

This season is T.J. Pollock and Tyler Daniels’ chance to show what they can do.

After coming off the bench in much smaller roles last year, the Fruita Monument High School boys basketball team captains led the Wildcats to a season-opening 67-43 victory Thursday over Bear Creek in the Warrior Challenge at Central High School.

“Ultimately, we were extremely excited to play,” Pollock said. “We came out focused, but we were nervous, especially in the first quarter. Once we were over that, we played like we practice. We were able to do all the things we wanted to do.”

Pollock led the Wildcats with 15 points. Steve Goff and Drew Bridges added 10 each.

Fruita Monument (1-0) got off to a slow start, turning the ball over three times on its first seven possessions. The Wildcats, though, were able to hang in there despite a torrid start by Bear Creek (0-1), especially Jaron Price. The senior guard scored 13 of the Bears’ first 15 points. He finished with 17.

Price, though, received his fourth foul with 2:26 left in the first half and the Wildcats leading 24-19. He didn’t return until the fourth quarter.

“That was a big difference for them,” Fruita coach Dave Fox said. “(Price) was by far their best player. It was certainly an advantage for us with him in foul trouble.”

Fruita held on to its five-point lead at halftime.

“The kids were nervous and you could feel it (Wednesday) night at practice,” Fox said. “At halftime, we calmed them down. The third quarter, we looked like the way we have in practice. We got the ball up and down the floor.”

The Wildcats went on a 9-0 run to open the second half to take a 38-24 lead.

Fruita’s run was triggered by its defense, which forced Bear Creek turnovers on four consecutive possessions. The Bears had 25 turnovers in the game.

“We were more aggressive,” Fox said of the defense. “We got the numbers to be able to do that. We have some speed and quickness to create turnovers.”

Fruita shut out the Bears from the two-minute mark in the third quarter well into the fourth quarter. Bear Creek ended its scoring drought with a Price layup with 3:02 left in the game. By that time, the Wildcats led 63-31.

Horizon 48, Central 43

The Warriors attacked the basket ferociously, but couldn’t get the shots to fall in their Warrior Challenge opener.

Central (0-1) made 17 of 52 shots (32.7 percent) and gave up three consecutive putbacks late in the third quarter as the Hawks pulled away.

“We’re going to have to scrap and use our team speed,” Central coach Phil Cain said. “We did try to push the pace, but we’re still finding ourselves out there.”

Spencer Hicks led the Warriors (0-1) with 13 points. Vandon Sanchez added 11. Cole Waliczek led Horizon with 13 points.

Girls Grand Junction 55, Glenwood springs 44

The Tigers opened their season with a road victory Thursday night in Glenwood Springs.

Fawn Brady led Grand Junction (1-0) with 16 points. Jamie Derrieux added 13 as nine players scored for the Tigers.

Kenzie Kuhn led Glenwood Springs with 23 points.

Grand Junction took an 8-4 lead in the early defensive struggle and outscored the Demons 34-23 in the second and third quarters to build a 42-27 lead into the final quarter.


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