Leo roars and Vail Christian basketball finds its groove | VailDaily.com

Leo roars and Vail Christian basketball finds its groove

Hockey sinks Steamboat

Vail Christian’s Connor Downey spots up for a shot against Rangely on Tuesday night in Edwards. Downey was an unsung hero in the Saints’ 63-35 win against the Panthers. (Mort Mulliken
Special to the Daily)

Ladies and germs, Vail Christian boys’ basketball discovered its offense.

After an 0-2 start in which the Saints uncharacteristically struggled to find the hoop in nonconference losses at Denver Jewish Day School and Moffat County, Vail Christian opened a can of buckets with a 63-35 thrashing of Rangely on Tuesday night.

The Saints were in control most of the way and then smashed the visiting Panthers with 27 points in the fourth quarter. There usually is no simple answer for woes in an aspect of a team’s game. In the case of Vail Christian’s missing offense, there were a lot of factors.

“I think being at home on a home rim (with a familiar shooting background) helped,” Vail Christian coach Sheldon Kuhns said. “More (repitition) helped. We also made a point to try to score in transition instead of out of the half court. We were more uptempo. It was all of the above.”

The key word there is transition. Vail Christian made some stops on defense. That’s more scoring opportunities and when the Saints start to run the floor in transition, good things happen. That is Vail Christian basketball.

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Leo Rothenberg blew up for 27 points, easily a career high. Another interesting figure was 2-for-10, Vail Christian’s 3-point output. The Saints were passing the ball well and moving well away from the ball so well, there was plenty of offense, even with just two treys. It’s also not hard to see Saints making more than two 3s in game, so the offense has more upside.

While Rothenberg was the headliner, don’t forget about Connor Downey. His statistical line of eight points and five rebounds doesn’t stand out. On the other hand, he guarded Rangely’s Sydney Cole, who is 6-foot-8 and 250 plus-pounds, according to maxpreps.com. Vail Christian doesn’t list heights or weights, but Downey isn’t close to 6-8, 250, so he did a great job.

Not to be left out, Quinn Downey had eight points as well. Theo Moritz provided valuable minutes for the Saints who were short on guards Tuesday night. Not surprisingly, Kuhns called Tuesday, “a good team win,” his time-honored endorsement.

Vail Christian’s girls also got their first win of the season, downing Rangely, 42-39, on Tuesday night.

Grace McCurdy led the way with 21 points, while Zoey Barela had 15.

“It was a good team effort,” Saints coach Tim Pierson said. “The team did a great job on rebounding. They boxed out well.”

Both games against Rangely were nonleague games and the Saints will be near the Utah border for the Slope contests on Feb. 19. In the meantime, both teams are in Hayden on Friday night for the league opener.

Newbies, vets combine for hockey win

It was worth the wait.

Battle Mountain hockey shook off a sluggish first period against Steamboat Springs on Friday night to polish off the Sailors, 7-2, in the season and conference opener for both teams.

“Honestly, we had a pretty slow start for us,” Huskies coach Derek Byron said. “We went down early and it was only a one-goal game after the first period. We hadn’t played in a while, but we came out in the second (period) and played together with speed and communication and pretty much took over the game.”

A slow start for 17 minutes at the beginning of the season is allowed. No slow starts after that.

Battle Mountain had three freshmen score points against Steamboat. This is key as the Huskies have defense and Logan Gremmer between the pipes. Battle Mountain graduated a lot of offense last spring and need the newbies to step up.

First-year Declan Kelly scored twice, while fellow froshes Tyler Knox and Nate Bishop also notched assists. The vets also made their presence felt as Jensen Rawlings lit the lamp twice. Declan Miner, Kyle Parliament and Jack Estabrooks also found the back of the net.

Battle Mountain (1-0) hosts Summit on Friday at 7:15 p.m., and Glenwood Springs at 6 p.m. on Saturday. Both games are at Dobson.

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