MONTROSE — In a key league matchup, Montrose boys basketball beat Fruita Monument 53-48 on Tuesday.
With the win, Montrose moves to 6-1 in league play with one game remaining. Fruita Monument has finished its regular season slate, and is now 7-1 in league. If Montrose wins its final game on Friday, it will give them a share of the Southwestern League title with the Wildcats.
Tuesday's contest was a back-and-forth affair from the start. Montrose led 15-14 after the first quarter, and then built a 27-19 lead midway through the second. But Fruita closed the frame on an 8-0 run to tie the game at 27 at halftime.
Neither team was able to pull away in a hotly-contested third quarter, and the game was tied 40-40 after three.
In the fourth quarter, Montrose was finally able to take control. They led 47-43 with three minutes left in the game. Fruita had to foul and Montrose went on to win, 53-48.
“What a great high school basketball game,” Coach Ryan Voehringer said. "I have nothing but respect for Coach Hayden and his program. I thought my guys battled for 32 minutes on both ends. I thought are switching defenses caused problem for them and slowed them down offensively a bit.
"Free throws were huge in the fourth quarter. We went 9-12, including 6-6 from Luke Hutto. A great win."
Luke Hutto had 17 points and six rebounds. Sean Alex had 10 and seven, and Jordan Jennings chipped in with nine points and four assists.
"Last time we played these guys, we came out flat," Sean Alex said of the first meeting, a 68-49 Fruita win on Feb. 8. "In this game we just kept fighting, which I think shocked them. The crowd played a huge role. I've never been to a game that was that loud in my life."
"Great team win," Jordan Jennings said. "Those games are the reason why we play. We have to keep the energy up and keep playing like that every night."
Marcus Labonde led Fruita with 21 points.
"I thought Montrose did a great job of making us stretch the floor and taking away the rim," Fruita Monument coach Ryan Hayden said. "Our guys hit some tough shots. This was a great game to compete in this time of the year and the type of game that gets us ready for the playoffs."