EDWARDS — Well, Vail Christian boys basketball can still score.
The big news is that the Saints are playing defense and rebounding … in December.
The Saints took out previously 2-0 Jim Elliot, 55-44, on Saturday night at the Wheeler Athletic Center. Yes, the visiting Wildcats seemed a little cold from the floor, but defense is in the house when you blank a team, 20-0, in the first quarter.
“It was a great defensive half,” Saints coach Sheldon Kuhns said, “Our ball defense was great. Our help defense, our rotation, it all was great. That’s what we have to do because we’re not as offensively explosive as in years past. We had a good first quarter, but we’re going to have our ups and downs, and our scoring droughts. We’ve got to defend and rebound. That’s encouraging.”
That said, Vail Christian (4-1) shouldn’t quite yet print the T-shirts for Broomfield. Saturday’s game was never in doubt, but the Saints still showed some rough edges, like learning how to play with a lead.
“It’s time. It’s just experience. Last year’s group, some of them played together since middle school. This year’s group, it’s their first year. We’re figuring it out on the fly. It will take time, but I’m very happy with where we’re at.”
The Saints started with 3s from Daniel Caballero and Parker Poage. Ethan Ellsworth, Ethan Pence and Alex Davis all had buckets as Vail Christian zipped to a commanding lead. The Saints led, 30-4, at the half.
Poage led Vail Christian with 15 points.
Ladies smother Warriors
Perhaps it’s stating the obvious, but a motion offense requires motion — one needs to move the ball and move when one is away from it.
That was the issue for Vail Christian girls basketball in a 33-22 win over Jim Elliot on Saturday in Edwards. It’s still a work in progress.
“It’s new. We played a lot of station-to-station basketball last year,” Saints coach Doug Bruce said. “It’s taken us a while to pass and cut, instead of pass and remain standing. We’re really working with the girls moving off the ball with the cut. It’s getting better and when we do run it for three or four passes, we get what we want to get.”
The reason for the emphasis is the Saints need offense — desperately. Vail Christian, in the past few years has been tenacious defensively. The Saints don’t need a Vesuvian eruption, but 35-40 points per game could get them to lofty places.
Up 15-9 at the half, the offense started to click a little bit more. The Saints were finally getting good looks, but the shots wouldn’t fall. Vail Christian was getting to the line, and Amie Hixon and Remy Beveridge both sank their freebies, while Beveridge and Bella McCormick sank field goals for a 23-17 lead after three.
Coco Spangler hit a big 15-footer to start the fourth, and Beveridge struck from 17 to give the Saints bit of space. Kristen Currey’s layup with 1:30 left, followed by a bucket by Jessie Hartley all but sealed the win.
Both Saints squads host Shining Mountain on Friday at 4 and 5:30 p.m.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 and firstname.lastname@example.org.