SOROCO — That was for football, part I.
Vail Christian boys basketball outlasted archrival Soroco, 83-78, in overtime on Wednesday night in Oak Creek in Saints’ league opener with a cast of heroes up and down the roster.
“Keeping the bench from running onto to the court when Parker (Poage) hit that 3 in overtime was a challenge,” Saints coach Sheldon Kuhns said. “This is as much fun coaching a game as I’ve had. The Final Four last year was awesome, but this was right up there.”
While it was not a work of art — particularly 78 points allowed — any win on the road in the 2A Slope is always good. Winning at Soroco — the Rams beat the Saints, 14-12, in football during the fall — is even better.
Speaking of football, Ethan Ellsworth, linebacker and power forward, had a whopping 33 points, and he fouled out before regulation ended. We only mention the fouling-out part because the junior tied the school record held by Caleb Pearson who had 33 in an overtime win over Coal Ridge on Dec. 15, 2005.
Kuhns likened Wednesday night’s game to this past year’s third-place game against Caliche in Broomfield — both teams ran up and down the court and made their shots.
“Our defense was not the way it needed to be, but the flow of the game dictated a higher score,” Kuhns said. “We just kept working. We didn’t play a clean fourth quarter, but we outplayed them in OT.”
Vail Christian (7-1 overall and 1-0 in the 2A Slope) survived a burst from Tim Regan who sunk a 3 and was fouled on a 3 — naturally, he knocked down all three freebies. Meanwhile, Saints guards Danny Caballero and Ethan Pence both missed the front ends of 1-and-1s. (Insert a collective “d’oh” right here.)
Despite being outscored 18-8 in the fourth, the Saints made it to overtime, and it was Parker Poage time. He had seven of Vail Christian’s 11 points in the extra frame, including a monster 3 late. (That was when the Vail Christian bench nearly charged onto the court.)
Caballero and Pence both expunged their fourth-quarter miscues with clutch free throws. Cooper Gould finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds, while Branden Currey had seven, and Vail Christian happily got out of Dodge.
“This was our first major test of the season, and the guys passed it big-time” Kuhns said.
Saints girls lose to Rams
The Vail Christian girls basketball team hung with Soroco for three quarter before falling to the Rams, 58-41, in Oak Creek on Wednesday night.
“I thought we played really well for three quarters and we ran out of steam,” Saints coach Doug Bruce said. “I thought we attacked the basket really well and controlled the tempo in the first half of the game.”
The Saints were down just 26-23 at the half. Kristen Currey had 18 points, while Jessie Hartley had 13.
Both of Vail Christian’s teams are home on Friday against Hayden.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 and firstname.lastname@example.org.