The Durango High School girls basketball team isn’t finished yet.
The Demons have played their best basketball late in the season and earned a spot in the Colorado High School Activities Association Class 4A state basketball tournament.
DHS received the No. 35 seed in the 48-team bracket when the tournament field was released Sunday. The Demons will meet No. 30 Palmer Ridge in the first round Tuesday in Monument.
“Not everybody makes the state tournament, especially for us after the way we started, this is a huge accomplishment for the kids,” DHS head coach Tim Fitzpatrick said. “We’ve been playing well at the end of the season and there’s no telling what could happen.”
The Demons were initially slotted as the No. 34 seed, which would have set up a third meeting with the Montrose Indians, who received the No. 31 seed, but were moved to No. 35 to avoid the trilogy.
Durango finished the regular season 10-12 overall and 5-3 in the 5A/4A Southwestern League, in which they finished second in the standings to 5A Fruita Monument, which earned the top seed in the 5A tournament.
Defense has carried the Demons all season. They have allowed an average of 40.2 points per game and have six players who have averaged a steal per game. Sophomore guard Emma Fitzgerald leads the defense with 3.4 steals per game.
On the boards, senior Brett Rowland leads DHS with 5.6 rebounds per game, followed by freshman Maddy McManus with 5.4 boards per game.
Senior Hilda Garcia has paced the Demons’ offense this season with 11.6 points per game. A high-volume shooter, Garcia has shown the ability to take over games with her scoring and draws the attention of multiple defenders, which opens up shots and lanes for the rest of the Demons.
“The kids are going to have to step up, and they have since we lost Danielle Lee to a torn ACL,” Fitzpatrick said. “Everyone needs to step up to do their part and pick it up a little more.”
The Bears went 12-11 overall this season and were 5-9 in the 5A/4A Pikes Peak League.
Fitzpatrick said he doesn’t know much about the Bears yet but is aware of their size, with six players listed at 5-foot-10 or taller.
“They played in a tough conference, but I definitely think they’re a beatable team,” he said. “They do have size. Looking at their roster, they have girls 5-10, 6-foot, 6-1, 6-3, and we’ll have a scouting report by the end of the day.”
Palmer Ridge was led by a pair of sophomores in 2017-18. Sydney Day led the Bears with 9.7 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. Eden Bonser followed with 9 points per game.
Senior Mackenzie Siskind has added 5.3 points per game to go with 3.7 assists and 3.6 steals per contest.
A start time for Tuesday’s game is yet to be determined. The winner will meet No. 3 Air Academy (22-1) in the second round Friday.