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Both Durango basketball teams lose at Fruita Monument in last game of the regular season

Both teams struggled to score on the road
Mariah Maestas of Durango High School drives past Brooke Segay of Bloomfield High School on Jan. 9, 2024, at DHS. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Durango basketball had its biggest test of the season to end the year. Both the boys and the girls went on the road to face Fruita Monument on Saturday and neither could get a massive win before the state playoffs.

The Demons boys lost 43-25 and the girls lost 46-35.

After the loss, the boys fell to 11-11 overall and 4-4 in the 6A/5A Southwestern League. The Fruita boys improved to 23-0 overall and 8-0 in the 6A/5A Southwestern League after the win.

Durango boys head coach Alan Batiste said his team was more comfortable on offense and the coaching staff stressed patience on offense against Fruita and also to limit its transition game.

“They had some transition buckets early in the game but then we limited it in the second half to the point where they stalled for three and a half minutes,” Batiste said.

Durango was led by junior guard Noah Miles’ seven points. Senior center Jacob Neubert finished with six points.

Fruita was led by sophomore guard Jhett Wells’ 16 points and junior forward Daniel Thomason’s 14 points.

Batiste said although his squad lost by 18, he was proud of the boys and how they competed but they just couldn’t hit any shots that night.

The girls team fell to 10-12 overall and 3-5 in the 6A/5A Southwestern League after the loss. Fruita improved to 19-3 overall and 7-1 in the 6A/5A Southwestern League after the win.

“I wish we had won the game but overall, we were pleased with how the girls competed and the effort and execution overall,” Durango girls head coach Lauren Moran said. “We got in some foul trouble and had a few lapses but definitely showed a lot of improvement compared to the last time that we played Fruita.”

On Jan. 27, the Demons lost 47-16 at home against Fruita.

On Saturday, junior guard Mariah Maestas led the Demons with 18 points on 7-15 shooting from the field. Senior forward Carter Neiman and junior forward Ellie White had six points each.

“Putting people in the right positions where they can be successful is, is key to that,” Moran said about getting more players involved on offense. “Also letting our defense kind of fuel our offense. We had some other people get some nice buckets on a fast break. So I think the more that we're able to run in transition, the more Mariah is able to pass the ball off the court to people who are running the floor that will get more people in the scoring column.”

Fruita was led by senior Addison Eyre’s 12 points and junior Olivia Campbell’s 11 points.

The Durango girls play Tuesday night at 6 p.m. as the No. 24 seed on the road against No. 9 Vista PEAK Prep in the first round of the 5A state playoffs. The boys play on Wednesday at 7 p.m. on the road as the No. 21 seed against No. 12 Dakota Ridge in the first round of the 5A state playoffs.