Vail Mountain stuns Vail Christian, 53-47
Now it’s a rivalry.
For years, Vail Christian-Vail Mountain School basketball has only been a rivalry because of geography. The Saints always beat the Gore Rangers.
After VMS toppled Vail Christian, 53-47, in Class 2A District 5 Tournament semifinals on Friday afternoon in DeBeque, now we’ve got something.
“I’d say this was a great team win,” Vail Mountain coach Caleb Florence said. “Guys were contributing all over the floor. I’m incredibly proud of these guys. This is a season-defining win.”
More like a program-defining one. Just as Vail Christian had to get over the hurdles of beating DeBeque, Hayden, and Meeker as it grew its program through the years, the Saints have been Moby Dick to VMS’s Captain Ahab — with the exception that the skipper finally got the whale.
“Credit Vail Mountain,” Saints coach Sheldon Kuhns said. “They played great. We knew exactly what they were going to do and they just executed their game plan.”
While coach Florence credited everyone who played for the Gore Rangers, one does have to give it up for Cole Pattison. The kid has competed in the state-ski meet Thursday, finishing second in the giant slalom, and Friday morning, a DNF in the slalom, and then raced down to DeBeque and led the Gore Rangers with 19 points.
Let’s see LeBron James ski-and-hoop, if that’s a thing.
Becker Dienst, Devin Yande and Nick Ebner were all in double digits with Yande making some big free throws down the stretch.
Not only was it huge to beat their 2A rivals, but the Gore Rangers (11-9) also advanced to today’s district final against either Meeker or Plateau Valley at 4:30 p.m. The winner of District 5 automatically hosts a regional tournament, regardless of the rating-percentage index, next weekend.
Since VMS was No. 34 in the RPI going into Friday’s game, that would be some serious motivation.
Meanwhile, Vail Christian (16-4) needs to get off the mat. The Saints will be playing in the third-place game — the loser of Meeker-Plateau Valley — at 1:30 p.m. today.