EDWARDS — Nobody’s perfect.
Last year, Vail Christian boys basketball went into Meeker’s gym and came away with the win, a victory that started the Saints’ run to state. The Cowboys returned the favor on Friday. Meeker came to the Wheeler Athletic Center in Edwards on Friday and knocked Vail Christian from the ranks of the 2A Slope’s unbeaten, downing the Saints, 62-51.
“It was a weird night,” Saints coach Sheldon Kuhns said. “(Meeker) definitely had a good game plan for us coming in. They made us earn everything tonight. … I thought we fought hard on both ends. I thought the effort was there. It just wasn’t one of our clean games, offensively or defensively. But I think a lot of the credit goes to Meeker.”
The Saints fell into a 39-29 hole at the half. Vail Christian struggled during the first half moving the ball offensively. On the other end of the court, the Saints allowed 24 points alone during the first quarter and had problems rebounding.
Vail Christian made a dent in the Meeker lead during the third quarter, getting as close as 44-40 with 3:11 left in the period. However, foul trouble — Branden Currey and Cooper Gould both had four fouls — made it difficult for the Saints to generate offense.
“It felt like the game, in general, didn’t have a flow,” Kuhns said. “We tend to be a momentum-type team, where we get out and run. It didn’t seem like we ever could build on that momentum.”
While that was Kuhns delicately walking around the daffodils, the Saints were clearly not pleased with the lack of whistles as the bench got a technical foul in the final minutes of the game.
Parker Poage topped the Saints with 21 points, while Ethan Ellsworth had 15. Currey and Gould combined for only 14 in limited playing time.
Vail Christian (11-3 overall and 4-1) doesn’t have much time to mope. The Saints head to Rangely (10-4, 5-1) today.
“We’ll get a good night’s sleep and get back at it tomorrow,” Kuhns said. “It’s a big league game. The guys are pretty upbeat in the locker room, despite the way the game went.”
No. 6 Cowboys down girls
Vail Christian girls basketball did a very solid job of hanging with Meeker, one of the league’s and state’s best, for a half in a 67-40 loss Friday night at the Wheeler Athletic Center in Edwards.
Meeker, ranked No. 6 in Class 2A, upped its record to 14-1 — the Cowboys’ only loss is to Olathe, which happens to be in the 3A top 10.
“Our first goal today was to not turn the ball over,” said Saints coach Doug Bruce, whose team fell to 6-7 overall and 0-4 in the Slope. “I told the girls at halftime I thought we did a pretty good job of that. We didn’t do a bad job of that in the second half. We quit attacking the basket ourselves in the second half. … But I think they learned from that in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, we did a much better job of attacking the basket.”
Meeker (6-0 in the 2A Slope) used a 19-3 third quarter to break the game open. The Cowboys’ Aly Ridings had 18 points to lead the attack. Kristen Currey led the Saints with 13 points.
“Meeker’s a really good team,” Bruce said. “They can shoot it, run, play defense. They can rebound. We come into every game trying to find things we can get better at. There are going to be games down the road that we can win. We just have to keep improving.”
Vail Christian’s squads head to the brink of Utah today for a pair of league games at Rangely.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 and firstname.lastname@example.org.