The red-hot Demons didn’t cool down Friday in Grand Junction, as senior Hilda Garcia powered the Durango High School girls basketball offense.
Garcia finished with 21 points and scored 12 of the team’s first 14 points in a 34-20 win at Grand Junction.
“I’m proud of the kids showing toughness,” DHS head coach Tim Fitzpatrick said. “They’ve done a really good job lately working hard in practice. It’s tough to come up here on the road and get one win. Our senior leadership was great.”
The Demons (8-10, 4-1 5A/4A Southwestern League) have now won four consecutive games and seven of their last eight. The win gave Durango a season sweep of the Tigers (6-13, 1-4 SWL), who they beat 35-26 at home last weekend.
Fitzpatrick credited the rebounding of Brett Rowland and Tayler Dossey for helping the Demons control the game.
Durango will have to win the SWL to be guaranteed a postseason spot, but at 4-1, the Demons are in position if Class 5A Fruita Monument were to slip, and DHS will host the Wildcats on Feb. 9. Fruita owns a 57-21 win against the Demons already this season.
To break up the league schedule, DHS will play Class 2A Ignacio in a regional rivalry game Tuesday at Fort Lewis College. It will be a special return to Whalen Gymnasium for Fitzpatrick, who played college basketball at FLC.
“Ignacio is undefeated, and they’ve been beating people pretty handedly,” Fitzpatrick said.
“We respect their program. They play a different style than what we’ve seen in our league. We’re trying to keep improving and hopefully make the state tournament. It will be a great night and great venue for both programs.”
Bayfield 51, Monte Vista 47A focused team effort from every Wolverine led to a big season sweep of Monte Vista for the Bayfield girls basketball team.
BHS (5-11, 2-5 3A Intermountain League) received 21 points from Jordan Lanning in a 51-47 win at Monte Vista. Head coach Josh Kitchen, in his first year leading the Wolverines, was thrilled to see the team earn a season-sweep of Monte Vista (4-11, 1-6 IML), with Friday’s close win coming on the road.
“Wins like this are magic for us,” Kitchen said. “Starting a tradition of winning, you have to start somewhere. To beat a team twice in one season and win on the road, it doesn’t matter who you’re playing, winning on the road is an accomplishment. I’m proud of the work ethic of the girls. We took it in stride tonight, and they kept coming.”
BHS outscored the Pirates 25-16 in the second half to take the win. Kira Riley added 14 points for BHS, and Tymbree Florian finished with eight.
Kitchen credited the defense of Brooke Merchant, Cinnaman Varnell and Madison Wells for executing a new defense the team worked on in practice.
“Shout out to the whole team,” Kitchen said. “Whether the girls got more or less minutes, every girl fought hard. I’m so proud of them.”
Next up for BHS is a tough matchup against Pagosa Springs (13-2, 7-0 IML), which beat the Wolverines 61-6 in Pagosa already this season.
“We want to be as consistent as possible and work on our own strategy,” Kitchen said. “Pagosa has a very strong press that is a challenge for us. If we break it, we will have a better chance.”
Boys BasketballBayfield 70, Monte Vista 52Three Bayfield boys had double-doubles in points and rebounds Friday, as the Wolverines soared past Monte Vista (4-11, 0-7 IML) on the road, 70-52.
Keyon Prior led the team with 16 points. Ryan Phelps added 15 points, 18 rebounds, five steals and four assists. Haden Farmer had 15 points and 13 rebounds, and Dax Snooks finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
“We came on in the second half and started putting it together,” said BHS head coach Jeff Lehnus. “It was a sluggish first half, but the boys got after it and pulled some margin in the third and fourth quarters.”
BHS (11-5, 6-1 IML) also benefited from seven points from Carl Heide off the bench in the fourth quarter.
Up next for the Wolverines is a 7 p.m. home game Saturday against Pagosa Springs (10-5, 4-3 IML). BHS beat Pagosa 57-50 on the road on Jan. 19.
Grand Junction 43, Durango 40Durango and Grand Junction scored as many points in the game’s final eight minutes Friday as they did in the opening 24.
The Demons (3-13, 1-4 5A/4A SWL) turned a 28-20 deficit after three quarters into a one-score game behind the hot shooting of Quelan Mestas, but it wasn’t enough to chase down the Tigers (6-14, 2-3 SWL) in a 43-40 loss.
“We turned up the pressure, and they turned the ball over more,” DHS head coach Alan Batiste said of the team’s late surge. “We were more aggressive on offense and shots were falling in rhythm. But they kept pressing us, and that led to easy buckets for them.”
Mestas finished with 12 points to match the team high along with Seth Johnson.
Next up for the Demons is a neutral court showdown against Class 2A foe and regional rival Ignacio. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday at Whalen Gymnasium on the campus of Fort Lewis College, where Batiste played college basketball.
“It’s a cool thing we do with Ignacio,” Batiste said.
“It’s cool for the boys to witness that college floor and play where FLC is ranked. It’s a good opportunity for them.”