After many bounces, Saints win at the buzzer
EDWARDS — And that was the longest 1.3 seconds in Vail Christian boys basketball history.
Trailing Roaring Fork 47-46 with 13-tenths left, on Friday night, the Saints had the ball underneath the Rams’ net for the inbound pass. Everyone knew that Sebastian Mortiz’s pass was going to Alex Davis. It did.
Davis’ layup bounced and bounced and bounced on rim.
“Too many times,” Davis joked.
Everyone can laugh about it now because it went in for a 48-47 Vail Christian victory and everyone affiliated with the Saints pretty much went cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.
“Best feeling ever,” Davis said. “That was a huge confidence-booster. We didn’t have calls going our way. For the young guys to keep their heads about them was really impressive.”
Saints head coach Sheldon Kuhns does not want to use the word “young” about his team. That word implies an excuse, as far as he is concerned. He prefers “inexperienced” or “new.” However, one describes these Saints, the varsity team has two seniors, Davis and Logan Raitt, and six sophomores.
With that in mind, it’s important to remember the John Wooden quote, “Be quick, but don’t hurry.”
However one describes a team with two seniors and six sophomores, the Wizard of Westwood applies to the Saints (2-1).
“We’re new together.”Kuhns said. “We’re inexperienced as a group. We’re quick, but we’ve got to learn to play quick, but not be in a hurry. Play attack, but not be out of control.”
The Saints were pretty much all over the place during the early going against the Rams. But once Vail Christian realized it wasn’t playing the Golden State Warriors, but a fellow high school team, the squad settled in.
Ten-straight points from Bryan Trujillo in the second quarter gave the Saints a halftime lead. Trujillo finished with 12 points. Moritz, also one of the sophomores, led the Saints with 14.
Also credit David Caballero with a clutch play late, giving the Saints their final possession.
Girls have power outage against Rams
EDWARDS — Vail Christian girls basketball was hoping to turn the switch at halftime.
After all, someone had already done so during the intermission, leaving the Wheeler Athletic Center in Edwards in momentary darkness during the break. Yet it was not be as visiting Roaring Fork parlayed a 17-11 lead after two quarters to a 30-24 nonconference win.
Vail Christian (2-2) had difficulty generating offense for most of the game, primarily due to a lack of communication and rebounding. The Saints committed turnovers because they weren’t talking, often leaving the Vail Christian player with the ball heading down the court, unaware that a Rams defender was tailing.
Roaring Fork (1-2) did a better job on the glass, limiting the Saints’ second chances. Under the category of “it isn’t your night,” when Vail Christian got good looks at the basket, the shots didn’t fall.
“We just weren’t as aggressive as we needed to be on offense,” Vail Christian Beth Raiit said. “That’s an issue right now. We’re going to need to change that. You can’t win a game with 24 points.”
The Saints closed it to 13-11 late in the second quarter before going scoreless for the rest of the half and for most of the third quarter. In the meantime, Roaring Fork’s Katie Weimer and Lilly Ramos converted buckets before the break.
To start the third quarter, the Rams went on a 6-0 run to increase their lead to 23-13 — Lyndsay Hansen had an inside bucket and Weimer had two more jumpers from the outside.
Vail Christian was able to close it to 25-20, primarily behind Jessie Hartley, who topped the Saints with 11 points.
Another thing on the “to-do” list will be free-throw shooting. The Saints went 2-for-12 in the second half from the line.
With all of this, it’s important to remember that the 2A Saints are still 2-2 with both losses coming to a 3A team (Roaring Fork) and 4A Battle Mountain. Vail Christian is also expected to add sophomore guard Jessie Raitt (knee injury from soccer last spring) after the Christmas break.
“We’re looking for our point guard to come back. That would be helpful,” coach Raitt said. “It’s tough for Remy (Beveridge) and Sarah (Heredia) to fill that role. We’re just going to keep plugging away.”
Both Vail Christian teams are at Hotchkiss today.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, email@example.com and @cfreud.
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.