Steve Lewis/Durango Herald
Steve Lewis/Durango Herald
After scoring just 18 points the entire game the first time around, the Durango High School girls basketball team hung 18 on Fruita Monument in the first quarter Friday.
Unfortunately for the Demons, they couldn’t hang on after the halftime break.
The Wildcats pulled ahead 27-26 at halftime, then used an 18-0 second-half run to put away the pesky Demons 49-36 at the Durango High School gym.
Durango (9-6, 2-4 Southwestern League) jumped out early, stunning a Wildcats team that won 52-18 in the matchup in Fruita earlier this season.
Emily McCue scored eight of her team-high 12 points in that first quarter to bring the Demons an 18-13 advantage after one period.
Durango senior forward Shanelle Bogus said the Demons were bent on proving the last time wasn’t an accurate depiction of their skills.
“I think we were quicker on our feet, and our intensity was higher. I think we had a lot of confidence coming into it, and I think we were lacking that confidence last time,” said Bogus, who scored seven points and grabbed six rebounds.
Bogus is the daughter of Mike and Wendi Bogus.
DHS then would battle toe-to-toe with Fruita Monument (14-6, 5-2 SWL) through the second quarter, and the Demons pulled ahead for the last time at 29-27 on a Molly Barnes’ 3-pointer with 5 minutes, 33 seconds left in the third quarter.
But the Wildcats turned up the defensive pressure from there and started burying their shots, scoring 18 consecutive points and not allowing Durango to score again until there was just 3:36 left in the contest on McCue free throws.
The Durango girls wouldn’t bury another field goal until Augusta Brockus’ 3-pointer with 2:11 to play.
But by then DHS already had dug itself a 45-31 hole and lost Barnes, likely the team’s best 3-point shooter, to fouls.
On the flip side, Durango wasn’t able to force as many Fruita Monument turnovers after intermission.
The Demons committed 15 of their 32 turnovers after halftime compared to just six of the Wildcats’ 20.
Durango head coach Nancy Smith credited the increased effectiveness of Fruita Monument’s pressure defense for finally allowing the Wildcats to shake off the Demons.
“I think it was their great ball pressure,” Smith said.
“We turned the ball over. We talked to our point guards about keeping their head up.
“Coming in, those girls are meeting them right at halfcourt, and (the Demons were) having trouble making an entry pass.”
Brockus chipped in 10 points for Durango.
Samantha Parks led Fruita Monument with 12 points and eight rebounds.
Lauren LaBonde and Vanessa Herrera each had eight points and four rebounds in the Durango home game.
The Durango girls will try to get back in the win column and improve its playoff chances at noon today against Grand Junction Central.
STeve Lewis/Durango Herald