Demons ‘attack’ their SWL aspirations

Steve Lewis/Durango Herald file photo

Durango High School senior point guard Willy Frownfelter scored a career-high 26 points in the Demons’ overtime victory Tuesday night at archrival Montezuma-Cortez. He’ll lead DHS into a tough home slate this weekend against Grand Junction and Montrose with a potential Southwestern League title on the line. “Just got to keep attacking, keep attacking,” he said.

By Jim Sojourner Herald staff writer

To turn two Southwestern League rivalry results around, the Demons will try to replicate one half of their last victory.

If the Durango High School boys basketball team can marry the offensive spirit that gave the Demons an overtime win over Montezuma-Cortez on Tuesday night with the defensive dominance that’s landed them wins against most everyone else, Willy Frownfelter thinks they can turn their only two SWL losses into wins and a league title.

“Just got to keep attacking, keep attacking,” Frownfelter said of his team’s regular-season-ending homestand, first against Montrose at 7:30 p.m. today, then Grand Junction at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at DHS.

Frownfelter would know: He scored 26 points in Tuesday’s 69-66 win over Durango’s archrival on the road – one of the Demons’ best offensive performances of the season but also one of their worst defensively, head coach Alan Batiste said Tuesday.

The Demons have been stout on defense throughout the season, and it’s led them to a 13-4 overall record and a 6-2 mark in the SWL. Only Grand Junction is better at 5-1, while Montrose trails at 5-3.

Tuesday’s defensive lapse involved a bunch of little, fixable things, Batiste said, so he’s not worried. And after losing to Montrose 45-44 on a buzzer beater last month a night after getting beat up by Grand Junction 57-38, the Demons will be hungry for revenge.

“We’re going to play with confidence,” Batiste said. “The boys are playing with lots of confidence.

“It just came down to scoring buckets: They scored buckets, and we didn’t.”

That’s because the Demons settled for jump shots in both road games, Frownfelter said, instead of looking down low to soften up defenses like they did against Montezuma-Cortez.

“I tell the boys, ‘You’re getting in the paint; that’s the goal,’” Batiste said. “Once you do that, everything opens up.”

Once the baskets start flowing, Frownfelter said Durango will need to transfer offensive energy into its patented intense D, especially to hold Grand Junction’s big man DJ Wells, who had a double-double and five blocks last game, in check.

“We’ve got to stick to defense, especially against Grand Junction,” Frownfelter said. “We’ve got to control them. We’ve got to play collective defense.

“We’ve got to finish our defensive stops,” he said.

Frownfelter emphasized the need to rebound well.

With an “awesome” crowd feeding the Demons their energy and an SWL championship on the line, Batiste said his boys are ready to rise to the challenge.

“(Tonight) is going to be wild,” he said. “We’re going to come out and treat it like a Cortez game.

“They know what’s at stake.”

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