Published: March 1, 2014
Palmer Ridge 50, Glenwood Springs 32
At Glenwood Springs: Before No. 3 Palmer Ridge heads off to the state quarterfinals for the first time in the program's history, the Bears are enjoying a little unexpected R&R in Western Colorado.
Behind tenacious defense and transition offense, the Bears handed No. 2 Glenwood Springs just its second loss of the season.
After the game, the inclement weather closed the pass and left the Bears scrambling for shelter. They ended up staying in a ranch house owned by star player Ali Meyer's grandparents.
"We panicked a little bit when hotels told us they didn't have any more rooms," Bears coach Dennis Coates said.
On the court, the Bears had little need to panic. They opened with a 10-0 run and never relented. Last year's trip to the Western Slope didn't go as swimmingly.
"We learned some lessons last year when we were sent out to the Western Slope as far as wheels, lodings and practice," Coates said. "Other than not getting home tonight, nothing else has gone wrong for us since we left Friday morning."
Michelle DeCoud scored a game-high 17 points, Meyer added 12 and guards Sam Rippley and Rhyley Lane shut down the Demons' top threats, including Delaney Gaddis who averaged 15.1 points per game before the contest.
"They didn't get a shot off today where someone wasn't in their face," Coates said. "I'm just glad I get another week to practice and coach these guys."
The Bears will first enjoy their evening of a big spaghetti dinner before worrying about their next opponent, who they'll face March 8 at the Denver Coliseum.
Mesa Ridge 55, Longmont 40
At Mesa Ridge: No. 1 Mesa Ridge hounded No. 4 Longmont, holding the Trojans to two points in the first quarter, and earning a return trip to the state quarterfinals for the second straight season and third in four seasons.
"We just played really good defense," Mesa Ridge coach Jeff Beatty said. "They didn't have any uncontested shots. Our scouting really paid off for us today. We were really perepared defensively for what they showed us."
While Longmont was struggling to score, the Grizzlies put up 16 points in that first quarter.
Sami Rudd scored a team-high 16 points, Gabby Purnell 11 and Kylee Shook 10.
"It's tough with us," Beatty said. "You gotta pick your poison. Eveyone contributes in their own way."
That includes Kaylee Gatzke, who sparked the defense.
"She does so many little things that helps us be successful on defense," Beatty said.
Next up, the Grizzlies will face No. 2 D'Evelyn, the two-time runner-up. The Grizzlies reached the semifinals in the 2010-11 season.
"The kids want to go further than they have the last two years," Beatty said. "They feel they're somewhat a team of destiny, maybe it's their turn."
District 8 tournament
Peyton 63, Simla 41
At CSCS: For the first time in 30 years, Peyton (21-1) is district champion. And there was no doubt about it.
Shelby Patterson scored 21 points, Emily Green added 18 and the Panthers blew out Simla (18-4) in the district title game.
Aleah Heredia grabbed 10 rebounds for the Panthers, who will get to host a regional tournament next week after winning the district. Regional pairings will be announced Sunday.
Green hit five of the Panthers' nine 3-pointers. Peyton jumped out to a 23-12 lead. Simla tried to rally, closing the halftime deficit to 35-29. But the Panthers limited the Cubs to just 12 points in the second half.
Peyton hasn't lost since Jan. 4 against Lutheran.
4A state playoffs
Thompson Valley 73, Mesa Ridge 45
At Thompson Valley: No. 1 Thompson Valley held No. 7 Mesa Ridge to 16 points in the first half, and then continued to open the lead with 44 points in the second half to advance to the state quarterfinals.
Mesa Ridge, which won the 4A Colorado Springs Metro League for the first time, had a bye in the first round and beat No. 5 Elizabeth in the second round.
No. 1 Thompson Valley will play No. 2 Cheyenne Mountain at Denver Coliseum on March 8.
Valor Chr. 71, Air Academy 55
At Valor Chr.: No. 1 Valor Christian (20-4) ended No. 5 Air Academy's (19-6) surprising run into the third round of the playoffs.
Garrett Baggett scored a game-high 22 points and Chase Foster added 17 for the Eagles.
Air Academy had four players in double figures, but it wasn't enough. Paul Fertig led the way with 14 points, while Adam Brown and David Louthan each had 13.
Grand Junction 67, Rampart 56
At Grand Junction: No. 12 Rampart (18-7) gave up 22 points in the first quarter and never recovered against No. 4 Grand Junction (21-2).
The Rams hung around the rest of the game, being outscored 45-42, but couldn't overcome the early margin. They cut the lead to seven with 3:44 to play but couldn't complete the comeback.
Broderick Robinson scored a game-high 31 points and Trenton Soriano added 16 for the Tigers.
After Wednesday's upset over No. 5 Cherokee Trail, the Rams were the lowest seed left in the tournament.
CSCS 55, Manitou Springs 37
At CSCS: Colorado Springs Christian School (19-3) cruised to an 18-point win over Manitou Springs (12-9) to win the Tri-Peaks tournament and solidify itself as a host for the regional tournament.
Pairings for regionals come out Sunday.
District 8 Tournament
Simla 48, Calhan 41
At CSCS: Simla locked up a host site for next week's regional play with the win over Calhan in the District 8 championship.
Pairings for regionals come out Sunday.