Wildcats forced to work overtime to snap four-game losing streak

After four straight losses, the Fruita Monument High School boys basketball team was looking for something to go its way.

Saturday, the Wildcats appeared to have their losing steak come to a halt, leading Hinkley 52-49 at the Hinkley Tournament with less than 10 seconds to play.

But the Wildcats’ luck hasn’t been that good lately.

Hinkley hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to tie the game at 52-52 and send it into overtime.

“It was one of those games,” Fruita Monument coach Dave Fox said. “We could have had it iced in the fourth, but we went 0 for 11 from the free-throw line.”

The Wildcats, though, came away with a 65-61 victory in double overtime to improve to 4-6 entering the holiday break.

“Our kids have a lot of fight and heart in them,” Fox said. “We are really proud of these guys.”

TJ Pollock scored 16 points, one of four Wildcats to reach double figures. Drew Bridges added 14.

Palisade 49, Centauri 28: In the first of two games for the Bulldogs at the Montrose Tournament, a strong first half propelled them to the win. Palisade led 29-13 at halftime, and kept the defensive pressure in the second half allowing only 15 points to Centauri. Offensively, Palisade was led by Jeremy Hayden who had 13 points. Caleb Hall added 11 points.

Montrose 91, Palisade 75: In the last of nine games on the second day of the Montrose Tournament, the Bulldogs had four players in double figures but lost a high-scoring game that ended at 11 p.m.

Jeremy Hayden, who scored 26 points, was selected to the all-tournament team. Kane Gunther added 14 points. Montrose was led by Nathan Robertson’s 26 points.

“It was a lot closer than the score showed,” Palisade coach Steve Phillips said.

Valor Christian 60, Central 49: Central allowed a big second quarter and never recovered. The Warriors (3-4) gave up 20 points in the second quarter and didn’t do much to help themselves with 14 first-half turnovers.

“We struggled in the first half,” Central coach Phil Cain said. “We were able to cut into the lead, and the guys still put out a good effort.”

The Warriors were led by Josh Wells who finished with 17 points. Spencer Hicks added 10.

Grand Junction 51, Palmer Ridge 41: After Friday night’s game where the Tigers weren’t as aggressive as they needed to be, Grand Junction (7-1) attacked the basket in the final day of the Harrison Invitational.

The Tigers shot 27 free throws, led by Sam Morgan, who got to the free-throw line eight times. The Tigers were led by Tommy Powers, who scored a game-high 18 points.

Girls

The Central girls basketball team was respected by the Front Range teams, but after going 3-0 in the Heritage Hoopla, the Warriors might be feared.

Central defeated tournament host Heritage 50-46 on Saturday night to win the title.

“That was a great high school basketball game,” Central coach Todd Dixon said. “It was bucket for bucket, and we played our best against pressure that we have all year.”

Central led by no more than five points the entire game. In the fourth quarter, Heritage took a one-point lead, but the Warriors went to Amy Kame, who regained the lead for Central with a layup.

Kame led all scorers with 25 points.

Fruita Monument 54, Pueblo West 49: Fruita Monument needed someone to come through late against Pueblo West at the Montrose Tournament.

Katie Lewis had no problem being that player. With the teams tied 49-49, Lewis hit a 3-pointer to give the Wildcats (6-3) the lead. Pueblo West attempted to match on the other end, but missed. Lewis came down with the rebound and was fouled. Lewis made both free throws to clinch the win.

“We were excited, and it’s a great way to go into the break,” Fruita Monument coach Dan Schmalz said.

Fruita also played earlier in the day, defeating Palisade 42-27. The Wildcats survived a tough third quarter for the win.

Palisade trailed 20-9 at halftime, but outscored the Wildcats 12-9 to cut the lead to 29-21 entering the fourth quarter. Fruita Monument took control, led by Sarah Hensley, who finished with 15 points.

Montrose 57, Palisade 28: The Bulldogs were down 42-5 at halftime to the host Indians. Palisade played better in the second half, and was led in scoring by Olevia Shafer’s eight points.

Jana Horn led Montrose with 16.

“We want to come back from the break and start fresh,” Palisade coach Toni Gunther said. “We are looking forward to league play.”

Air Academy 58, Grand Junction 43: The Tigers ran out of gas in their final game of the Heritage Tournament.

Grand Junction (5-3) trailed by 12 points at halftime, but erased the deficit in the third quarter. That rally took all of the Tigers’ energy on the final day of the three-day tournament as the Kadets pulled away.

“We had a bunch of tired kids,” Grand Junction coach Sam Provenza said. “But I always tell them to play as hard as they can for as long as they can, and they did that.”

Paula Lage led Grand Junction with 12 points.


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