Wildcats stumble at home


Central’s Jordan Eller, left, runs up against the defense of Grand Junction’s Sarah Wilkinson on Friday night as she goes for the layup during the Tigers’ 60-41 victory over the Warriors.

The Fruita Monument High School girls basketball team let one slip away Friday night.

The Wildcats lost 33-32 to Montrose after controlling much of the second half.

Entering the fourth quarter, the Wildcats held a 25-20 lead and extended that lead to 31-24 lead with 4:36 left to play. Montrose went on a 9-1 run to grab a 33-32 lead with nine seconds to play. Fruita had one last possession, but Jessica Sinner’s last-second shot was short, leaving the Wildcats stunned in disbelief.

“Everything that could have gone wrong for us, did go wrong for us late in the game,” Fruita coach Dan Schmalz said. “Turnovers and missed free throws was the difference and is why we lost the game. Up until late in the quarter, we were doing great things and to have it end the way it did is really tough to take.”

After a dismal first quarter where the Wildcats managed only two points on 13 shot attempts, they came to life in the second quarter. After the Indians built an 11-5 lead, Fruita’s offense got untracked when Lauren LaBonde scored her first bucket of the game and ignited an 8-0 run.

Sinner hit a deep 3-pointer and Eden Lasse connected on two free throws to give Fruita its first lead of the game, 12-11. LaBonde added one of two free throws with 56.8 seconds left in the half to give Fruita a 13-11 halftime lead.

In the third, LaBonde scored five of Fruita’s 12 points, leading to Fruita’s 25-20 lead entering the fourth quarter. Montrose outscored the Wildcats 13-7 down the stretch.

Fruita (13-10, 6-4) finished third in the SWL standings. Montrose was second behind league champion Grand Junction, which beat Central 60-41.

Grand Junction and Montrose both finished 9-1 in league play and split their head-to-head games, but Grand Junction (19-4) won the title on a tiebreaker over the Indians (14-9), based on the teams’ records against nonleague common opponents, according to District 51 Athletic Director Paul Cain, who sent an email detailing the tiebreaker procedures.

Battle Mountain 34, Palisade 33: The Bulldogs’ furious second-half rally fell one point short. After being outscored 14-3 in the second quarter, to go into halftime down 20-9, the Bulldogs outscored Battle Mountain 24-14 in the second half. Flannery Davis scored 14 points and Courtney Clark 11 for Palisade (7-16, 3-9 WSL).


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