Demons look past but shoot past Rifle

DHS boys will play Palisade today for the district title

It wasn’t pretty, but it did the job.

The Durango High School boys basketball team ground out a 38-33 win over Rifle on Friday night in Grand Junction to move on to the Southwestern League/Western Slope League District Championships’ final.

“I think we were looking forward to (Saturday), and we thought we could just show up (Friday),” DHS head coach Alan Batiste said.

“Another blue-collar win, but it didn’t really need to be that close,” Batiste said.

The Demons led by as many as 10 points in the second half before a technical foul, then seven consecutive turnovers that kept the Bears in the game.

“Just can’t do that,” Batiste said. “Just gotta keep doing what got us that 10-point lead.”

Willy Frownfelter scored 16 for Durango. Isiah Mayberry added eight, and Nick Hamlin had six.

Durango (16-5) will play Palisade (16-5) at 2:30 p.m. today at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction for the district tournament title.

Durango beat Palisade 50-43 in December.

A victory would aid their hopes of earning a top-seven seed in the state playoffs, which will start next week.

“It’s going to be another physical game. They’re pretty loaded down low, not height-wise but big physical bodies,” Batiste said. “All we have to do, again, is just execute on offense and execute on defense and stick to our bread and butter.”