The Hotchkiss High School girls' basketball team beat Caprock and entered the New Year on a winning note.
The Bulldogs started off strong and never let up in a 57-18 win over the visiting Eagles at the Hotchkiss gym last Saturday evening.
Caprock is a charter school in Grand Junction in its second year of varsity athletics.
Hotchkiss coach Ginger McPherson said it was a great way to start the New Year for the Bulldogs, who picked up their second win on the season (2-6).
"The first part of the season was pretty hard on them," McPherson said. "Then with the two weeks they were able to get in some better conditioning. That helps a lot."
Point guard Mae Anderson led the Bulldogs in a strong defensive effort, playing full court defense for most of the game.
"Before the break we had some very close games, but we just weren't coming together," Anderson said. "We came together tonight and played with intensity and heart and pulled out a win."
Both teams started out as cold as the frigid temperatures outside the gym and battled to a 3-3 start midway through the first quarter.
Hotchkiss put together a 12-0 run to lead 15-3 after the first. Andi Todd sank a 3-pointer, Chase Bizer rebounded and scored, then both Anderson and Bizer had steals and buckets during the Bulldogs' run.
Anderson drove the floor and scored and hit a couple more shots in the second quarter for Hotchkiss. Kenley Derby sank a jumper, then had a steal and score that put the Bulldogs ahead 35-7 at halftime.
The Bulldogs didn't let up after the intermission, allowing only three points to the visitors and taking a 45-10 advantage after three quarters of play.
Derby was strong again in the fourth quarter, scoring inside and then putting back her own miss on the next possession.
Fellow senior Bizer was active on both sides of the floor in the game, and along with Anderson, Sam Galley and Alondra Gallegos, the play of the senior class will determine how well the Bulldogs do going into league play.
Hotchkiss kept up the defensive pressure, forced turnovers and beat the Eagles 57-18.
"That's what we needed," Anderson said. She compared her effort playing defense in a basketball game to running a cross country race.
"It's a different kind of pain," Anderson said. "But I think full court defense for four quarters is a little tougher."
The Bulldogs showed some of their strongest defense of the season in the win.
"Hopefully that will give us confidence going forward," McPherson said. "It doesn't hurt."
Hotchkiss resumed its longtime rivalry versus North Fork Valley neighbor Paonia last night.