The Hotchkiss High School girls' basketball team played four games in five days last week and showed signs that the Bulldogs are building a solid foundation for the season.
The Bulldogs have two games this week, playing at Aspen on Thursday and then hosting Vail Christian on Saturday. Hotchkiss will be tested early and often before getting some time off for the Christmas break.
Hotchkiss 45, RHS 20
The Bulldogs opened the season the right way and won their first game last Tuesday at home, defeating Ridgway 45-20.
Senior Mae Anderson scored the first two buckets of the season as Hotchkiss jumped ahead 4-0.
"We still have a lot that we need to get into place before we're officially ready for the season," said first-year Bulldogs coach Ginger McPherson. "But I feel like we did good."
Anderson had a steal and two free throws that made it 6-0, then senior Sam Galley stole the ball and scored to make it 8-0 4 minutes into the contest.
Emma Copp's baseline drive and score put the visitors on the board at 8-2, but the Bulldogs scored the next six points behind Galley's 3-pointer and Anderson's free throw and bucket at the buzzer that made it 14-2 after the first quarter.
"We're definitely doing what we set out to do on offense, making our fast breaks and keeping our momentum going," McPherson said.
Hotchkiss upped its lead to 30-9 at halftime and never looked back. Galley, in her first game back from season-ending knee surgery last year, poured in a game-high 17 points.
"I was excited. Honestly, I was way nervous," Galley said. "I was way too nervous, but my post moves felt good. I found the basket and just put it in, I didn't really think about it. Just went with the flow."
Anderson contributed 13 points to the Hotchkiss win.
Freshman Kiaya Firor scored eight points in her first game. Andi Todd netted four points, Lacey Rodriguez had a bucket and Carson Collins sank a free throw to round out the Bulldogs' scoring in the win.
Wendy Woods led the visitors in scoring with 10 points. Copp scored eight and Alize McCarty had a basket for the Demons.
NHS 71, Hotchkiss 35
The Norwood Mavericks, ranked No. 5 in 1A, came to the First Colorado National Bank Tournament and showed that they can look forward to a very strong season.
On Thursday last week in Paonia, the Bulldogs held the Mavericks close in the first quarter but then the taller and hotter-shooting Norwood team took over.
Norwood led 18-13 after one quarter and had a 56-28 advantage after the third.
The Mavericks trio of Cortney Lemon, Amber Padgett and Macie Magallon proved too tough for the Bulldogs' defense.
Indians JV 40, HHS 26
On Friday last week the Bulldogs played 4A Montrose's junior varsity squad.
Hotchkiss was plagued by a ton of missed shots, which is going to happen early in the season as teams adjust to playing every day and face quality defenses.
"We learned a lot defensively speaking," McPherson said after the game. "What we're lacking is experience, and it showed today. We're a young team that doesn't have a lot of time playing together."
Anderson made two free throws at the end of the third quarter, and Hotchkiss trailed 28-21 going into the final session. The Bulldogs managed only five points in the frame, however, -- all free throws -- and Montrose followed the lead of sophomore Alyssa Dixon to put Hotchkiss away in the end.
"For the most part the girls are playing hard," McPherson said. "They're learning about each other. We'll learn as we go through these games. It's good competition."
Olathe 61, HHS 28
Hotchkiss completed its very busy first week with a game against Olathe at Delta High School last Saturday.
Olathe held the upper hand in the opening quarter with a 13-5 run and never looked back.
The foul-plagued contest had 23 fouls whistled against the Bulldogs and another 17 on Olathe.
Anderson, the Bulldogs' leading scorer with 17 points, scored six of Hotchkiss' eight points in the second quarter. The Pirates tallied another 13 points to take a 26-13 halftime lead.
Olathe cranked up its offense another notch to outscore the Bulldogs 35-15 in the second half.
Miranda Pacheco had 18 points to lead the Pirates, with teammates Taylor Brown and Shelby Anderson adding 17 and 10, respectively.
Hotchkiss is in Gunnison on Wednesday, Dec. 15, for a varsity contest beginning at 5:30 p.m.