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Durango girls basketball ready for second-round playoff game with Skyview

Demons look to advance to Sweet 16
Emma Fitzgerald and the Durango High School girls basketball team will look to make up for a home playoff loss last season and try to beat Skyview in the second round of the CHSAA Class 4A Girls Basketball State Tournament.

Fundamentals and focus. That’s what the Durango High School girls basketball team has worked on this week at practice, as the Demons prepared to host a home playoff game for the second time in as many seasons.

Durango (14-9) is set to take on Skyview (20-4) in the second round of the Colorado High School Activities Association’s Class 4A Girls Basketball State Tournament at 6 p.m. Friday at DHS.

It will be the second consecutive season Durango has hosted a playoff game. The Demons fell 38-30 to Falcon last season on their home court. This season, Durango earned the No. 14 seed and received a first-round bye in the 48-team bracket

“I think it was pretty nice to have these couple days to prepare and get in our groove,” DHS point guard Emma Fitzgerald said. “We haven’t had a lot of rest, so it was nice to have a bit of that. We got to work on shooting, dribbling and our defense. We got to look at the persona of Skyview and identify what players do what and how they do it just so we can be prepared for what their moves are going to be.”

DHS senior Jael Larson knows the Wolverines will be a tough test. Skyview, the No. 19 seed, held off No. 46 Coronado 39-36 Tuesday in Thornton in first-round action.

“I think we’ve done a pretty good job of getting to see their tendencies,” Larson said. “They are a good team. They’ve got some really good post players and a girl who can shoot it. We have to be strong on defense, and we’re going to deny everything that comes into the block. They’re good down low, so we have to watch out for that.”

Skyview is led by junior point guard Thalia Guardiola’s 11.8 points per game. Casandra Olivas, one of two key post players, averages 9.3 points and leads the team in rebounding with 7.8. Hannah Hunter Wolfe is a steady post presence for the Wolverines, as she averages 7.7 points per game.

Durango has given up just 34.7 points per game this season and has held teams to under 40 points in all but four games.

“There’s definitely a different feel heading into (Friday),” Larson said. “We’re not as antsy as before. Last year was such high pressure and energy, and it was insane. This year, we’re a little bit more calm. Yeah, nerves are there, we’re still more calm than past years.”

Freshman Mason Rowland leads DHS in scoring in points per game (7.7) and offensive rebounds (2.0). Fitzgerald is second on the team with 5.9 points per game, while junior Maddy McManus is third with 5.4 per game. It will be Rowland’s first time in a playoff atmosphere, but her older sister Kyle, a junior who is second on the team in assists, has encouraged her throughout the season.

Rowland was in the stands last year to witness the first-round exit but said she loved the playoff atmosphere that was on hand. She believes that Friday’s game will be even more electric.

“I watched the game last year in the bleachers, and everyone was so excited that we even had a home game in the playoffs,” Rowland said. “The whole environment, the team, school and parents, they were all behind it and everyone was so excited. The team this week has been really focused. We’re in the right mindset and we know what we need to do to win.”

Durango will look to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2017, when the then 16-seed lost to top seed and state runner up Pueblo South 45-28. With what’s at stake Friday, Durango head coach Tim Fitzpatrick knows his team will have to come out with energy and fight.

“We’ve turned into a pretty good basketball team, and we’re fun to watch,” Fitzpatrick said. “Skyvview is a good team, and they’re here for a reason. Any time a program gets 20 wins in a season, it’s going to be a challenge. But I’m confident in my kids and know they’re gonna compete. I just want people come out and support these girls because I think they’re worthy of that and so much more.”


If you go


No. 14 Durango (14-9) vs. No. 19 Skyview (20-4)


CHSAA Class 4A girls basketball state playoffs, second round


6 p.m. Friday


DHS gymnasium

Listen Live:

KKDG 99.7 FM




Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for students. Only CHSAA passes will be accepted.

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