TELLURIDE – The Telluride High School girls’ basketball team clawed their way to a home court victory on Friday, scraping out their first win of the season against the Ridgway Demons, 33-24, but were unable to maintain their winning ways into Saturday, falling to Mancos on the road, 40-15.
“It was good to see that after all the hard work they’ve put in during games and in practice, when it came down to the wire they were able to mentally pull it off,” said girls’ coach Justin Ludwig of the Friday night victory. “It’s a younger team, so they’re going to take their poundings here and there, but it definitely helps boost their confidence and motivate them a little more in practice to post a win.”
Telluride and Ridgway waged a tight back-and-forth battle on the scoreboard throughout the game. Despite early scoring from Sonja Erickson and Nickey Goldsworthy, the Demons’ Candace Yengst and Amelia Radovanovic led their team in keeping neck-and-neck with the Miners. The end of the first half found the Demons ahead and into the double digits, 11-9.
Neither team allowed more than a four-point differential in the third period. Freshman Emy Ludwig had the hot hand for the Miners, but the Demons’ defense did their best to keep her from finding many opportunities. A Goldsworthy steal in the final 30 seconds of the period, which she dished out to speedy Freshman Josephine Bush, tipped the score in Telluride’s favor, 19-18, but the Demons’ weren’t prepared to fall behind just yet and promptly sunk a free throw to end the third period tied up at 19.
The seesaw trend continued well into the fourth quarter, until a free throw netted by Lindsey Bosse opened the door for the Miners. Freshman Emily Langley didn’t let the pressure of final minute play get to her, landing two more free throw shots, while Ridgway players missed out on similar scoring opportunities.
With less than a minute on the game clock, Ludwig snaked a Demon pass and charged down the court for a lay-up – getting fouled on the way and ultimately sinking one of her free throw shots to give Telluride its largest lead of the evening, 30-24.
The Demons struggled to make a late-game comeback, and the Miners continued to roll. Another Ludwig free throw followed by a Goldsworthy field goal in the final 10 seconds sealed the deal, giving Telluride the win, 33-24.
It was a different story for the Miners on Saturday in Mancos, falling to the Lady Bluejays 40-15. Coach Ludwig said that while Telluride’s defense performed well, the team was lacking on the offensive end. “We need more kids to step up and be scorers,” he explained. “It’s all about building that confidence to take the ball to the basket… We need to pick it up on the offensive end and get more kids confident in scoring.”
The Miners again face stiff competition this weekend, when they travel to Norwood on Friday and Ignacio on Saturday.
Ludwig said he expects Norwood to be a good match for Telluride, noting that the Mavericks also have a young team, while Ignacio, who joined the league just this year, may deliver a challenge. He added that if his team can control the tempo and use their speed to their advantage, they should have a good shot at improving their record this weekend.