The Wildcat Classic, and the season, has not started the way the Palisade High School girls basketball team would’ve liked.

The Bulldogs’ shooting was largely ice cold once again Thursday as they fell to Carbon (Utah) 49-17 in the Wildcat Classic at Fruita Monument High School.

“We’ve improved every game,” said first-year Palisade coach DeAnne Larsen. “We’re slowly improving. We’ve just got to learn the new offense, new defense, new expectations. They’re working and they’re getting after it, so I can’t really ask much more of them than that.”

It took both sides much of the first quarter to find their footing offensively.

Once the Dinos (5-3) took the momentum, however, the Bulldogs (0-3) couldn’t keep pace in the opening game of the Wildcat Classic.

Alexis Marushack provided a dependable presence down low for Palisade. The junior center led Palisade in scoring with 11 points, scoring the first 5 of the game for the Bulldogs. However, her first didn’t come until 5 minutes, 14 seconds in, making the score 3-2 in favor of Carbon.

“We’ve got height,” Larsen said. “We’ve got to use it.”

The Dinos ended the quarter on a 9-0 run thanks to the shooting and assisting of Abbie Saccomanno, who finished with 13 points after her one-basket, three-assist first quarter.

Carbon’s lead increased to 15-2 when Marushack scored on an offensive rebound 3 minutes into the second. That would serve as Palisade’s final field goal of the half. The Bulldogs scored their other 5 points of the half on free throws by Marushack, Elizabeth Hawkins and Addie Steele as they went to the locker room trailing 21-9.

Carbon quickly pushed the lead to 30-11 with three 3-point baskets to open the third quarter and extinguish any momentum the Bulldogs had gained in the second quarter.

Palisade faces San Juan (Utah) today at 4:30 p.m.

Grand Junction 33, Castle View 32: Dolcie Hanlon made two free throws with 30 seconds remaining to give the Tigers (1-3) their first victory.

Hanlon finished with a team-high 15 points. Exactly half of the Sabrecats’ (1-3) points came from Ella Cooley.

Grand Junction faces Carbon tonight at 6 p.m.

Central 55, San Juan (Utah) 50: Leah Redding scored 16 points, all in the first half, Mya Murdock scored 11 and Nikki Madaris added 9 as the Warriors (3-1) won their third consecutive game.

A 14-7 third quarter made the difference for Central, which faces Pine Creek today at 3 p.m.

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