Demons harass Warriors into a SWL victory

Winning records all around.

The Durango High School girls basketball team rode another in-your-face defensive performance to beat Grand Junction Central 37-24 on Friday night in Grand Junction, opening the Southwestern League at 1-0 and extending its overall record to 8-2.

Emily McCue led the Demons with another double-double – 12 points and 11 rebounds – and Shanelle Bogus added seven points and five rebounds. Nona Patcheck also had five off the glass.

But the key to victory against the Warriors was the Demons’ trademark high-pressure defense.

“It was a strong defensive effort, and that was our whole game plan was just to be intimidating and aggressive,” DHS head coach Nancy Smith said.

It worked well, especially to start the game. Central struggled to move the ball at all in the first half.

Durango led 6-2 after the first quarter and 16-4 at halftime.

“To pester them coming up the floor,” Smith said of her game plan. “Our guards did great.

“I was really pleased with the way they kept riding the ball up the court, riding the ball up the court so the things that Central got were hard-fought. They didn’t get any easy baskets.”

The final tally may have been closer had the Warriors been able to hit free throws, though. Central made just 10 of 25 shots from the foul line as the Demons got themselves in foul trouble late.

“We were packed into the bus (Friday) like sardines,” Smith said.

“We were crammed into the car for hours. It was a long ride up here,” and that tired the girls out even before the game, she said. “When we get tired, we start to reach.”

DHS will play its second SWL game against Fruita Monument at noon today in Fruita.

heraldsports@durangoherald.com