Wildcats top Warriors without LaBonde

Fruita Monument didn’t have its leading scorer, but it didn’t matter.

The Wildcats managed to win without her, defeating the Central High School girls basketball team 43-33 in a Southwestern League game on Friday night at Fruita Monument.

“A game without our leading scorer?” Fruita coach Dan Schmalz said. “We’ll take it. When she’s in a cast on the side, we’re missing 13 points a game. You think about adding that to it, that would be an even bigger win.”

Lauren LaBonde broke her finger diving for a loose ball in a loss Tuesday at Montrose. She’ll likely miss the next game against Palisade Tuesday, but could return for the game against Grand Junction next Friday.

Kassidy Fair led the Wildcats (9-8, 3-2 SWL) with 10 points. Jessica Sinner added eight.

The Warriors (3-14, 1-4 SWL) were led by Tyler Hays with 10 points. Brittany Hoppe had six.

Central gave the Wildcats fits early, getting to the basket and drawing fouls. Fruita had 12 fouls in the first half, but the Warriors struggled to take advantage of the fouls. Central made only 8 of 21 free throws (38 percent).

The Wildcats managed to lead 20-18 at halftime and pulled away in the second half.

“We won it defensively,” Schmalz said. “We gave up way too many points in the first half. We fouled a lot and had multiple girls in foul trouble. The second half, we were much smarter defensively and rebounded considerably better.”

“I think we misjudged their quickness,” Schmalz said. “They beat us to the basket quite a bit.”

Fruita went on a 10-2 run to open the second half, scoring on four consecutive possessions. Eden Laase hit a 3-pointer in the run. Fruita led 30-23 after three quarters.

Fair scored six of her 10 points in the fourth to seal the victory.

Palisade 37, Battle Mountain 27: The Bulldogs pulled away in the fourth quarter for Class 4A Western Slope League win.

“I’m really proud of our kids for their defensive effort,” Palisade coach Toni Gunther said. “We continue to get better on the offensive end.”

Cruz Maestas led Palisade (6-10, 2-4 WSL) with 10 points. Mercedez Taylor added nine.

Olathe 60, Coal Ridge 44: The No. 8 Pirates built a 23-8 lead and pulled away in the fourth quarter.

Tawni Middleton scored 26 points to lead Olathe (11-2, 7-0 WSL). Kylie Tait added 14.

Allie Ehlers led Coal Ridge (7-6, 4-3 WSL) with 10.

Plateau Valley 45, West Grand 43: Sarah Foss scored the game-winner as time ran out as the Cowboys snapped a six-game losing streak.

Alyssa Foss led Plateau Valley (3-6, 1-4 WSL) with 18 points. Bessie Jo Hill scored 13.


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