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Durango boys win third straight game

Demons top Montrose on Friday; Durango girls struggle on scoring end
Zach Unruh of Durango High School pushes off his defender while driving to the basket on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024, while playing Grand Junction at DHS. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

With the state tournament approaching, the Durango boys basketball team is peaking at the right time.

The Demons picked up their biggest win of the season Friday night, beating Montrose 38-34. Durango extended its winning streak to three games, improving to 11-10 overall and 4-3 in 6A/5A Southwestern League play.

“I'm just proud of the boys,” Durango boys coach Alan Batiste said. “They just showed some grit, followed our game plan and executed when we needed to execute. Obviously that was a little different in the last minute and a half with the missed free throws, but overall just proud of them to be able to see some success going against a top-10 team in the state.”

No individual or team statistics were available late Friday night, but Batiste said it was a balanced effort on the offensive with senior guard Zach Unruh, junior guard Noah Miles, freshman forward Donovan Whitehead and senior center Jacob Neubert.

The Demons’ 2-3 zone defense caused issues for their opponents once again with their length. The game was a low-scoring affair, with Durango up 14-13 at half.

However, the Demons outscored the Red Hawks 17-8 in the third quarter to take a 31-21 lead into the fourth quarter.

“We got out in the open floor and we got easier buckets,” Batiste said. “Then we also got easier buckets because we got some steals in our defense and our deflections started happening. Off those deflections, we were able to turn those turnovers into points. In the past, we've always turned them over and but we turned it back over and we didn’t turn the ball over like that until late in the game.”

Durango girls struggle on scoring end

Even with most of its players back from injury, the Durango girls struggled on offense and lost 35-23 at Montrose.

The Durango girls fell to 10-11 overall and 3-4 in league play.

“It was very frustrating offensively,” Durango girls coach Lauren Moran said. “Particularly in the first half when we scored only nine points. We missed some shots that we probably should have made and just had a tough time getting good looks against their defense. Give them credit, they're really good at half-court defense which we knew and I was hoping that we could rise to the occasion but in the first half particularly we just weren't able to do that.”

Junior guard Mariah Maestas scored nine points for the Demons, while junior forward Ellie White scored eight points.

Montrose’s Maggie Legg finished with 16 points, nine of which came in the fourth quarter.

“She is a strong all-around player,” Moran said about Legg. “She is a guard but she has good size. We knew that going in but particularly in the fourth quarter, we didn't really do a good job of denying her the ball. She was able to get the ball where she wanted and then able to look to score.”

The Demons only trailed 6-4 in the first quarter, but that got stretched to a 16-9 halftime deficit. Durango at one point cut the deficit to three points, but couldn’t shrink it further.

Both the Durango boys and girls resume action Saturday against Fruita Monument. The girls play at noon, and the boys play the undefeated Wildcats at 1 p.m.


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