Cyclones down undefeated Fruita Monument, move to 9-1
COLORADO SPRINGS – The Pueblo West High School girls basketball team ran its win streak to seven games last weekend at the Rampart Holiday Classic, defeating then-unbeaten Fruita Monument 57-52 Friday night before downing tournament host Rampart 53-30 Saturday.
The Cyclones’ wins raised its 2016-17 record to 9-1, and this past Monday, the Cyclones re-entered the CHSAANow.com 4A girls basketball rankings at sixth.
The win over Fruita Monument was perhaps the Cyclones’ touchstone win of the young season.
Fruita Monument, entering the game with a 10-0 record, couldn’t overcome an early Cyclone surge that saw junior Olivia Lough hit four of Pueblo West’s first five shots while the team went 21-for-24 from the free throw line.
“We were able to build a substantial lead to open the game,” head coach Gil Lucero said, “and from there they came at us with everything they had. They pressed and trapped us all over the place and it was nice to see us respond well to that and get the win.”
Lucero said the team’s ability to withstand the press, easily the Cyclones’ Achille’s heel last season, is the best sign from Friday’s win.
“Looking at how things went last year in those situations when we fell apart,” Lucero said, “this year, we’re handling it and scoring when we needed to.”
Saturday, Pueblo West will close its non-conference schedule with a road game at Colorado Springs Christian before starting its South Central League schedule hosting Pueblo County Tuesday night.
Pueblo West enters SCL play as one of three SCL squads ranked in the top six. Pueblo East is ranked 2nd in the state while Pueblo South is number-one.
“The league has always been really tough and it’s been that way for several years,” Lucero said. “[South and East] have made deep playoff runs the last several years and we are looking forward to that challenge.”