Five from Vail Christian make basketball all-league
EDWARDS, Colorado ” Add five more Saints to the wall.
If you’re named all-league at Vail Christian, a plaque with your picture goes on the wall of the gym. And appropriately these five Saints ” Will Parker, Chris Schmidt, A.J. Burgess, Michelle Disher and Sammy Francis all voted as all-league by basketball coaches of the 2A Slope ” earned their plaques with their work in the new gym where their pictures will hang.
Family affair, part I
Parker certainly will have some company on the wall. Jackie and Nicole Parker are already there and Will will go up with Allie (volleyball) when latter two graduate in May. Will was Vail Christian’s first true point guard for the boys basketball team and he was the squad’s heart and soul this winter.
“He’s the motor that makes us go,” Saints boys basketball coach Sheldon Kuhns said. “It all started with Will. It was verbal leadership. It was leadership by example. He had the ability to take over a game defensively and his passion and heart for the game is incredible.”
While the Saints have traditionally been a post-oriented program, Parker led the guards in 2008-09, allowing players like Schmidt and Larry Cavanaugh to emerge as presences in the paint. Parker leaves Vail Christian as the school’s all-time assist leader.
Schmidt’s learning curve throughout his basketball career in Edwards was nothing short of astonishing. Athletically gifted, Schmidt developed into the team’s most dynamic post threat this season.
Not only did he score and rebound with aplomb under the net, but he hustled and usually ended up like Gumbi in some awkward position on the floor, only to pop up as good as new.
“He has raw athletic ability and just kept getting better every year. He didn’t plateau,” Kuhns said. “He was a sparkplug, blocking shots and getting steals and diving all over the place. You worried about him getting hurt, but he was like ‘plastic man’. He could contort himself in way to get his hands on the ball in way you didn’t think possible.”
Who’s played the most games in Vail Christian boys basketball history?
We’ll give you a moment. It’s not Caleb Pearson or Jaryd Francis, who are generally the answers to most boys basketball questions. Pearson’s got rebounds, while Francis has points.
A stellar athlete ” football coach Tim Pierson is also unhappy to see him go ” Burgess was a steady presence at shooting guard and key to the team’s success in the transition game.
“He really was the model of consistency,” Kuhns said. “When Will was hurt, he steadied us. He started every game beginning in his sophomore year.”
While Francis and Pearson are the answers to most questions in Saints boys basketball, Rachel Glandorf plays that role for the girls.
Except that Disher has the school’s single-game rebound record with 23 against Ouray on Jan. 18, 2008.
Yes, Disher is Vail Christian’s not-so Round Mound of Rebound. OK, she’s not even close to Sir Charles in physical stature, but that didn’t stop Disher from being a presence in the paint her senior year. Not the tallest, Disher put herself in good position to clear the boards and put back an easy one on the offensive end.
Family affair, part II
Sammy Francis established her own identity, following in her brother Jaryd’s rather large footsteps, making her postseason honor sweet. Francis was plagued by concussions early in her career, yet blossomed in both volleyball and basketball. She’s now al-league in both, thank you.
Francis was Disher’s partner in both scoring an rebounding this year as the Saints increased their win total despite moving from 1A to 2A. Girls coach Doug Bruce also counted on Francis for leadership in the locker room.
And just in case you’re wondering, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Dakota Francis joins her brother and sister in a year on the wall.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.