EDWARDS — Vail Christian boys’ basketball considers games against Meeker to be quite the rivalry.
The Cowboys probably don’t think much about the Saints because, well, they’ve been pounding Vail Christian regularly for nearly the last 20 years.
That may be changing as Vail Christian won its third straight against the Cowboys, 70-51, on Saturday night in Edwards,
“For the last decade, they’ve been the class of our league,” Saints coach Sheldon Kuhns said. “They’re well-coached and always disciplined, no matter what their talent level.”
The Saints started slowly, the effect of a late night getting back from Rangely. However, that’s life on the Western Slope. On offense, Vail Christian wasn’t doing a good job of finding the lanes to the rim and, on the other side of the court, the defense was a bit leaky.
Give Meeker coach Klark Kindler and the Cowboys a little credit, too, for that slow start. Meeker came out in a 2-3 zone with a lean (wisely) toward the Saints’ Alec Moritz.
Kuhns, who’s coached 20-plus games against Meeker, had never seen zone from the Cowboys. Well played Coach K.
One way to score when you can’t drive to the hoop is to shoot over everyone, and Moritz did that to the tune of 29 points. That’s generally useful.
“We have to cut to the basket,” Moritz said. “We needed to start moving. Once we started moving, we got the open shots in the second half, and that’s all you can ask for.”
Meanwhile, Jamison Lee struck early and often with 19 and was sporting stylish light purple sneakers.
Defensively, the Saints call on Hayden Sticksel. He got Meeker’s Cole Rogers. As Sticksel took care of things there, Vail Christian settled down on the defensive end.
“You have to get around picks, get in his face,” Sticksel said. “You can’t give them an inch of breathing room.”
Seniors and sophs
While the Saints seniors lead, the sophomores are following.
“We kind of skipped a grade,” Moritz joked.
Sophomore Connor Downey did a nice job in the paint with eight points and eight rebounds. Sophomore Jesse Gonzales finished a 24-11 second quarter with a 3-pointer.
Meanwhile, the Saints defense tightened with senior Kaleb Williams even taking a charge during the second half. And Vail Christian was off and running.
Vail Christian, which was ranked No. 7 in the rating-percentage index, the ranking brought to you by Head of School Steve O’Neil, moved to 7-1 overall and 3-0 in the 2A Slope.
Vail Christian girls basketball put forward a strong effort in a 57-40 loss to Meeker on Saturday.
Maddie Ellsworth had a big night with 15 points, while Abby Kuhns finished with nine and Grace McCurdy seven.
The Saints are at Basalt for a pair of nonconference games on Wednesday.