Warriors play well to edge Cortez

Todd Dixon likes to preach solid defensive technique to his young Central High School girls basketball squad.

That’s why it was such a pleasant surprise to him when the Warriors (3-9) squeezed out a 54-48 victory Friday night against Montezuma-Cortez.

It was a barn-burner compared to the Warriors’ previous games. Central averages just less than half the points it scored against Cortez (4-8).

“I think we could have played a lot better defensively in the first half, and the game would have been really different,” Dixon said.

“If you ask any coach, the one thing they’ll say about freshmen is they can’t play defense. They reach, and try and play middle school basketball. It’s a learning curve, and I think they learn to play defense with their feet in these big environments when they realize ‘I won’t be playing if I don’t do it right.’ “

Two of the Warriors’ more experienced players, though, ran into foul trouble.

Junior guard Jordan Eller, who, along with Brittany Hoppe led Central in scoring with 13 points, went to the bench with her fifth foul early in the fourth quarter.

Senior forward Taylor Hice picked up her first three fouls in the first quarter and struggled to find a rhythm offensively, shooting 3 of 11 from the field after foul trouble limited her minutes.

The Warriors had 12 team fouls in the second quarter, and Cortez took a 36-29 halftime lead behind 16-of-20 shooting from the free-throw line.

The tables turned in the second half however, when foul trouble limited what the Panthers’ two leading scorers could do.

Maranda Elliot and Sydney Bayles both had four fouls heading into halftime. Bayles had 19 points in the first half and Elliot had 10, but Elliot fouled out in the first 30 seconds of the third quarter and Bayles didn’t take another shot from inside the paint in the second half.

Cortez scored two points in the third quarter and the Warriors hung on after retaking the lead.

“We’ve never had a lead, it was the first conference game and we were nervous and loaded with freshmen,” Dixon said. “We don’t have a whole lot of game experience in this kind of hyped-up atmosphere and I’m proud of the girls for fighting after being down so much and answering the call in the second half.”


Three Fruita Monument wrestlers went 3-0 in first day of the Rocky Mountain Rumble in Orem, Utah, to reach the quarterfinals.

Clayton Muller won all three of his matches at 126 pounds and Jacob Seeley is in the quarterfinals at 160 pounds, as is Dallas Bernal at 170 pounds.

Paonia continued to dominate opponents, shutting out Cedaredge 72-0 in a dual meet.


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