OLATHE — Not to belabor the point or anything, but the Class 1A District 1 Tournament is about winning on Friday.
Win on Friday, which the Vail Christian boys basketball team did against Ouray, 75-69, and nothing else matters. With that win, the Saints assured themselves of a berth in next week’s regionals in Gunnison, regardless of what happened in Saturday’s district championship game against Norwood.
And that’s a good thing because the Mavericks topped the Saints, 43-35, on Saturday afternoon in Olathe. While hanging another district-title banner in the Wheeler Athletic Center in Edwards would have been nice, the bigger picture is Vail Christian is still just one win from a return trip to state.
‘Where We Want To Be’
“In the locker room, the guys were disappointed with not getting the district championship, and not playing their best game of the year,” Saints coach Sheldon Kuhns said. “But it’s starting to sink in that we’re going to be playing another week and we’re right where we want to be.”
Vail Christian (15-6) plays the champion of District 6, the Primero Bulldogs, on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. up in Gunnison at Western State Colorado University with a trip to state on the line.
Getting to this moment has been the whole point of the previous 21 games.
As Kuhns predicted after the Ouray win on Friday night, the Vail Christian-Norwood game was going to be a slug-fest. Indeed, it was. The Saints led the Mavericks, 26-25, after three quarters and were up 32-30 with about three minutes left in the game before Norwood charged for the win.
“Credit Norwood,” Kuhns said. “They played us well. But we accomplished what we wanted to this weekend. Having gone off to regionals for years and years, and having lost on Friday a lot, I’ll take it in a heartbeat. In the big picture, we’re right where we want to be.”
Parker Poage led the Saints with 11 points.
The Saints do not know much about Primero. There is nothing close to common opponent with the two teams. Primero beat Cotopaxi, 51-32, on Saturday to win its district title.
While the Saints have Primero on Saturday, Norwood faces Cotopaxi. Under the category of “for whatever it’s worth,” both Vail Christian and Norwood advanced to state in regionals at Glenwood Springs this past year against District 7 opponents Deer Trail and Elbert, respectively.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 and firstname.lastname@example.org.