Historic Comeback Ends for Demons in the Elite Eight

Taken from Gabe Kimbrough (Instagram)

Taken from Gabe Kimbrough (Instagram)

Jaymin Kanzer, Reporter/Sports Editor

A wonderful season for the Glenwood Springs Demons varsity basketball team finished this Saturday after an elite eight loss to the Pueblo West Cyclones. 

The Demons won the 4A Western Slope League Championship and suffered only two losses the whole regular season. The Demons cruised through the season, beating every team that faced them after the 19th of December, winning 18 games straight. 

Thanks to high caliber play in the regular season, the Demons got a first-round bye to start the playoffs. They beat up on the Weld Central Rebels, winning 53-30. Then facing off against the Green Mountain Rams, but the Demons handled the Rams with ease, winning 56-50. 

The Pueblo West Cyclones and half of their school made the long trek to Glenwood on Saturday in a chance to play at the Denver Coliseum for the final four. In a standing-room-only matchup, neither team disappointed, playing their hearts out for the fans. 

Gabe Kimbrough, senior Shooting Guard for the team and one of the team’s leaders says 

“It was incredible honestly. The atmosphere was electric from start to finish. It was amazing knowing that we had kids lined up an hour early to watch us play.”

The Demons held onto a one-point lead after one-quarter of play, winning 12-11, but in the second, the Cyclones took charge. The Cyclones went on a 19-4 run during the second quarter to give them a comfortable 30-16 lead going into the half. 

The Demons weren’t about to give up there though, coming out guns a blazing out of the half, widely thanks to head coach Fred Heisel and his halftime speech.

“He told us that we weren’t done yet so don’t treat it like you are. Everyone was pumped up especially us seniors because we knew that we could bring it back.” Kimbrough said. 

The third quarter was all Demons, going on a 13-4 run during the third quarter, to shorten the Cyclones lead to only five points, 34-29. Senior Patrick Young gave the Demons a boost during the third, knocking down a three-pointer and drove to the net for another basket. 

Before the whistle blew for the start of the fourth quarter, the whole gym knew this was going to be a photo finish ending. The Demons were up 40-39 late, but a miss and a Cyclones basket flipped the situation real quick and forced the Demons to foul. 

With one chance to send the Demons to the final four, Heisel gave the ball to senior Mitchell Burt with the game on the line. A mid-range jumper was off the mark, and the Cyclones came down with the ball and the game. 

“I’m heartbroken that we lost, but overall this season was the most fun I’ve ever had. This team was some of the funniest and most genuine people you can get. I’m proud to be a demon to the core, and I just hope this year is an example for all the younger players out there that no matter what, give it your all and you can go far!” Young said. 

The Demons ended a historic season this year as league champs and one of the best records (22-4) in the school’s history.

Seven seniors played their last game in a Demons jersey on Saturday: Kimbrough, Young, Burt, A.J Adams, Will Narvaez, Adam Schrader, and John Iuele. 

“I just told these kids that they have created a legacy that will go well beyond their graduation,” said an emotional Heisel following the game. “All of the young players in this town saw what this group was all about and what they were able to accomplish. They should be very proud of themselves,” Coach Heisel said in the Post Independent