Coal Ridge takes two from Vail Christian |

Coal Ridge takes two from Vail Christian

Joelle Milholm

PEACH VALLEY – Eric Schmitz was on fire Friday night.He hit three 3-pointers on his way to a 23-point performance, helping lift Coal Ridge to a 72-65 win over Vail Christian in nonleague prep basketball action.”The whole team found Eric,” Coal Ridge head coach Mike Cox said. “When he starts stroking it like that and takes good shots, he’s gonna hit 60-70 percent – when he gets a nice pass and he steps into his shot.”Ahead for most of the game, Coal Ridge (6-5) took a 66-62 lead into the final 40 seconds of the contest. Vail Christian (4-4) sank one free throw to pull within three before Kevin Screen found Skyler James on the fast-break press-breaker. James caught the ball in the air, shot it while still defying gravity and banked it off the glass for an easy two points. “Skyler hit a big one there at the end and that hurt Vail Christian a little bit, took the steam out of them, but they aren’t a bad team,” Cox said.With the score at 68-63, the Saints made one more field goal before being forced to foul Coal Ridge. Titan Kevin Screen, who totaled 20 points on the night, took advantage by making 4-of-4 shots from the free-throw line and sealing the game. In back-to-back close games, the Titans played beyond their inexperience and have come out with two victories (Friday’s and last Saturday’s 64-63 win over North Park.) “We’re just 14- and 15-year-old guys playing against juniors and seniors, and these guys are just stepping up,” Cox said. “Most kids, not mine, but others I think would falter.”Caleb Pearson was the Saints top-scorer, scoring 20 and dominating all night in the paint. He pulled down eight rebounds and blocked three shots. Jonathan Armstead helped lead Vail Christian’s attempted comeback, scoring nine of his 14 points in the fourth quarter and getting two steals in the fourth.Great first quarter garners Titan winWhen Kelly Romero’s NBA-distance 3-pointer sailed through the bottom of the net right at the buzzer, it was a perfect ending to a perfect quarter for Coal Ridge.Titan Kim Lyons picked off six Saints passes and scored six points. Coal Ridge (6-5) hit three 3-pointers, held Vail Christian (2-7) to one field goal and got out to a 24-4 lead in the first frame en route of a 46-31 win over the Saints Friday night.”That was an amazing first quarter,” said Coal Ridge head coach Jacky Gaddis. “We’ve got to put four of those together to get where we want to go.”Coal Ridge couldn’t repeat the success of the first quarter in the following three, scoring nine points in the second, another nine in the third and only four in the fourth. But the Titans lead was big enough after the first that it didn’t matter.”We tried to work on some new and different things, putting people in positions they don’t normally play, tried different rebounding schemes, different shooting schemes.” Gaddis said. “I just wish they would have worked a little better.”Daile Gray finished the game with 10 points, including two 3s as the Titans top scorer. Lyons totaled nine points to go along with her six steals, three rebounds and three assists.Vail Christian’s Danielle Cavanaugh tried to keep her team in the game by scoring 19 points, including 11-for-12 from the free-throw line. She also recorded six rebounds, two blocks and one steal.”She’s (Cavanaugh) good,” Gaddis said. “She was the only one out there taking the ball for them.” The Saints beat the Titans at the free-throw line shooting 17-for-19 from the charity stripe, while Coal Ridge managed only six on 16 attempts.Both Titans teams host Paonia today, with the girls playing at 2:30 p.m. and the boys following at 4 p.m. Vail Christian hosts DeBeque at St. Clare with the girls tipping at 2:30 p.m., followed by the boys at 4 p.m.Vail, Colorado

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