Vail Christian makes district finals
Saints take down Meeker, 66-52
DEBEQUE — With authority and doubtless a sense of satisfaction, Vail Christian boys basketball is moving on the Class 2A District 5 Tournament final.
The Saints beat Meeker, 66-52, on Friday during the district semifinals, showing that their win over the Cowboys back in January was no fluke. Vail Christian will take on the winner of Plateau Valley-West Grand today at 4:30 p.m. for the District 5 crown.
While winning districts at 2A for the first time in school history would be nice, the real prize comes in state seeding. The winners — regardless of the rating-percentage index — of the eight district tournaments in 2A across the state are automatic hosts for the first and second rounds of the state tournament.
Despite a 15-6 record, the Saints were ranked 21st in the RPI going into Friday’s game. Winning the district title means that they’ll automatically move to likely the No. 8 spot and be home next weekend for the state playoffs. Lose, and they’ll be studying maps of Colorado to figure out where they’re going.
Back to the present, the win over Meeker is also the program’s 200th, not to be confused with coach Sheldon’s Kuhns 200th, which came on Tuesday. Let us note for the record that of the Saints’ 200 wins, going back to 2000, only three have come against Meeker.
“Meeker has often physically dictated the game to us or mentally dictated the game for years and they were not able to do that tonight,” Kuhns said. “We controlled the tempo. We controlled the pace, how the game was played and that’s fun to watch as a coach.”
The Cowboys jumped out to a 15-6 lead behind Meeker’s Cole Rogers who went off for 11 points during the first quarter. The Saints countered with Hayden Sticksel off the bench to defend the Meeker junior. Rogers scored only two points during the second quarter, while Sticksel hit two 3s during that frame, creating a big swing of momentum.
Sticksel, who finished with 10 points, has been a big addition for Vail Christian after an injury sidelined him for most of the regular season.
Vail Christian junior Alec Moritz went off in a Moritzian way with 25 points, including six shots from downtown. Senior Zack McKeeever had a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds. Jamison Lee had nine points. Had he one more point, the Saints would have had four players in double digits. This is only mentioned to say that Vail Christian continues to show balance.
The Saints started 2A Slope play with a 73-68 win at Plateau Valley right after the holiday break. Vail Christian also got out of Dodge with a 65-59 win at West Grand earlier in the season, so the district title game appears to be a whopper by any measurement.
Not to be left out in importance, the Vail Christian girls basketball team plays Plateau Valley at 9 a.m. today in DeBeque for fifth place in the tournament and a berth in the state tournament.
Huskies hockey falls
DENVER — Battle Mountain hockey’s season came to an end with a 7-3 loss to Denver East during the second round of the state playoffs on Friday at the Family Sports Center.
The Angels built a 4-0 lead during the second period and were leading 6-1 in the third.
Battle Mountain got two goals from Garrett Flaagan and one from Seth Nordstrand.
The Huskies finished the season with an 11-6-3 record.
Montrose takes down Huskies
MONTROSE — Battle Mountain girls’ basketball’s magical season came to end with a 38-23 loss at Montrose on Friday night during the second round of the state 4A playoffs.
That a Battle Mountain girls basketball season came to end in the playoffs is an indication of the mind-blowing nature of the season. The Huskies (15-10) went 10-2 in the 4A Slope to win their first league title since 1993.
That earned the Huskies their first playoff appearance since the school moved to Class 4A in 2000, and Battle Mountain made the most of it with a 51-48 win over Harrison on Tuesday, before advancing to face Montrose.