Vail Mountain School basketball celebrates seniors | VailDaily.com

Vail Mountain School basketball celebrates seniors

EAST VAIL — They built it, and they celebrated it.

Vail Mountain School basketball is going to the postseason after a Senior Night win against Plateau Valley, 66-54, on Saturday in East Vail.

"It's just great to finish out the year with a W," VMS senior center Griffin O'Connell said. "I'm glad I was able to come out and perform for my team."

VMS finished the regular season 10-5 overall and 9-3 in the 2A Slope. Not bad for a school that better known for skiing and soccer.

“Over the past few years, we’ve been playing a JV/varsity schedule. Each year, we’ve had a winning season, but this was the first year we were able to go full varsity. To come out with a 10-win season was important for our seniors and I’m really proud of them.”Travis AldrichCoach, Vail Mountain School

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"It's been a long time coming," said VMS coach Travis Aldrich, sounding very much like a proud father. "Over the past few years, we've been playing a JV/varsity schedule. Each year, we've had a winning season, but this was the first year we were able to go full varsity. To come out with a 10-win season was important for our seniors and I'm really proud of them."

So, while the district tournament awaits, take a bow, Sam Shay, Liam Hurley, O'Connell, Todger Davis, Tony Lyu and Peter Tice.

Feed me, Seymour

Sometimes, game plans are sophisticated. Sometimes, they're not. This was the latter — get the ball to Grif.

All O'Connell did against the Cowboys was 30 points, 19 rebounds, three blocks, four steals and three assists.

He probably gets to keep his starting job after that.

"I think when you have that kind of height advantage, you have to take advantage of it," Aldrich said. "We were looking to feed Griffin down low. When he gets hot, he's hard to stop."

The visiting Cowboys found that out the hard way. The nice thing from the VMS standpoint was that the Gore Rangers got contributions from people not named McConnell.

Marc Phillipon broke at 27-27 tie at the end of the first half. Hurley was in on a 7-0 run to start the third quarter. Tice busted off five points to start the fourth quarter and Davis was able rampage inside as well.

Districts next

Last year, VMS played in a pigtail game up in Rangely, which was a heartbreaking loss to end the season. This year, the Gore Rangers likely will get a bye and a home game on Feb. 22, in the second round.

If the season were to end today, Paonia and Meeker would be the top-two seeds, followed by Vail Christian in third and VMS in fourth. That 4-5 matchup is shaping up to be Hotchkiss or Rangely, the latter being somewhat ironic. And, if the tourney goes to seed — absolutely nothing is guaranteed, but the prospect is intriguing — Vail Christian and VMS would meet in DeBeque on Feb. 25 with the winner grabbing District 5's third and final ticket to regionals.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, cfreud@vaildaily.com and @cfreud.