DENVER – The Glenwood Springs girls basketball team is chasing its program’s first-ever championship in what has already been a special season, and the Demons cleared a major obstacle blocking them from that goal on Thursday.

It may, in fact, turn out to have been the biggest obstacle of them all when it’s all said and done.

In the Class 5A Great 8 at the Denver Coliseum, the No. 8 Demons pulled away in the final minute to knock off top-seeded George Washington. On paper, it was a shocking upset. In the Demons’ locker room, the victory was one the players believed all along could happen.

“It’s fantastic. We’re so excited,” Glenwood Springs senior Joslyn Spires said. “We all believed we could do it coming in. They’re the No. 1 seed, but that’s just a number and we all believed we could knock them off. Every single player on our team believed and I think that helped us to get the win.”

The Denver Prep League champion and also after a program-first title of its own, George Washington (21-5 overall) led 18-13 at halftime. Glenwood Springs (19-7) trailed by two points to start the fourth quarter and the game was tied three times in the final four minutes, including at 41-41 with 54 seconds left.

In the final 39.5 seconds, Spires and fellow Demons senior combined to go 7 for 8 at the free-throw line while the Demons held George Washington scoreless to close out the game.

“I told those girls they’ve just got to keep grinding because George Washington is a great team,” Demons head coach Rhonda Moser said. “We just tried to stay really focused and I told the girls the team that stays the most disciplined at the end was going to win that game.”

Spires and George Washington’s Gianna Whiteside led all scorers with 18 points apiece. Glenwood Springs’ Tori Taylor scored 10 and George Washington’s Mya Cotto scored 12.

Now that they’ve removed the No. 1 seed from the bracket, the Demons are two more wins away from capturing an historic title for their school.

“It would mean everything,” Spires said. “That’s what we’re aiming for, so it would mean the world. And to get it with this group of girls would be even more special. We have to hand it to our coaches too. They do so much for us and they’ve really lifted this program and all of our players. For all of our hard work to pay off would just mean so much.”

Glenwood Springs will take on the winner of No. No 4 Windsor and No. 5 Mead in the Final Four next Thursday.

(4) Windsor 44, (5) Mead 41

(Doug Ottewill/

Not to be outdone by the boys, the Windsor girls are also heading to the state semifinals.

The Wizards won their rubber match with Mead, getting a tough 44-41 win in the Great 8 at the Denver Coliseum. The win over the Mavericks puts Windsor just one win away from playing for a state championship, just like they did a year ago when they fell to Mullen.

It was a balanced effort as Brooklyn Jiricek and Hailee Wright each led with nine points while three other Windsor players scored at least six. Charlotte Brennan was the leading scorer for the Mavericks with 16.

The two teams played each other twice during the regular season, each winning on the opposing floor. But the neutral site battle went Windsor’s way. The Wizards will take on Glenwood Springs who is fresh off an upset win over No. 1 Glenwood Springs.