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Rams spoil Saints’ Senior Night

Ian Cropp
VCGB Kirstie Eckert SM 2-7
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EDWARDS ” Soroco’s Bryan Spaeth had the Vail Christian crowd wondering whether or not they were having deja vu during Tuesday night’s boys basketball game at St. Clare. Time and again, Spaeth stole the ball from Saints’ players and rushed the ball down the court for a layup.

After a dozen steals and 35 points, Spaeth had finished his show and spoiled Senior Night for Vail Christian, as the Rams beat the Saints, 73-56.

By the end of the first half, the Rams had done more of the damage, and held a 41-16 lead.



“We were shell-shocked in the first half,” said Vail Christian coach Sheldon Kuhns. “They packed it in on us.”

The Rams prevented the Saints from gaining possession of the ball in the paint, but the Saints also didn’t play the same high-tempo pace as the Rams.

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“Last game, against Battle Mountain (JV) we came out and were running the ball a lot, and we wanted to do that, but it didn’t work out,” said Vail Christian’s Oliver Ristow, one of two seniors honored before the game.

And when the Saints were able to elude the tight Rams’ defense and get off some shots in the first half, they weren’t able to grab many offensive rebounds.

“We did a really good job of limiting their second chance points,” said Soroco coach Sam McLeod. “Jesus (Garcia) and Johnny (DeCosta) did a good job on the boards, considering how outsized they were.”



Vail Christian shot 7-of-22 from the field in the first half, while Soroco went 17-for-35, scoring most of its points in transition off steals.

“Bryan was tremendous in transition tonight,” McLeod said.

Second-half surge

A different Saints’ team came out in the second half, led by Jaryd Francis, who scored 25 of his team-high 32 points in the half.

“He attacked the basket in the second half,” Kuhns said.

Much like the Rams scored more of their points on layups and inside in the first half, the Saints found scoring in the paint in the later part of the game.

“We had the effort in the second half,” Ristow said.

The Saints also shot considerably better, going 17-for-29, but the 25-point deficit from halftime was too much to overcome, as the Rams continued to score.

With only three players on the bench, all of whom were freshman, the Rams’ starters spent nearly the entire game on the court. The Rams’ Steven Meade (16 points) and Hendrickson (12 points) were also in double digits.

For the Saints, Caleb Pearson had 10 points, while the team’s other senior, Josh Sibley, sunk several nice jump shots and recorded seven points.

Spaeth, who had 28 points in Soroco’s 68-67 overtime victory against the Saints earlier this year, was happy with his performance Tuesday, but was happy his teammates were there on defense with him.

“I felt bad because I didn’t rebound that much, but Jesus and Johnny were there,” Spaeth said.

Saturday, the Saints hope to rebound at Crested Butte.

“We need to care and go out there and play basketball,” Ristow said.

Rams shut down Saints

It wasn’t so much that the Saint’s couldn’t score, it was more that the Rams wouldn’t let them.

Soroco used stifling defense to beat the Vail Christian girls squad, 46-21.

“That is what our game is about ” defense,” said Soroco coach Danielle Rivera. “When you are one someone else’s court, you can’t always count on offense.”

Still plagued by injuries, the Saints shuffled their lineup all game, working in freshmen and sophomores.

“Our slower quarters had to do with … trying to move in freshmen and less-experienced players,” said Vail Christian coach Paul Doughty.

After the Rams jumped out to a 17-3 first-quarter lead, the Saints’ defense stepped up in the second quarter, grabbing defensive rebounds.

“Our (rebounding) was unbelievable,” Doughty said. “Cecilia Martin had nine first half rebounds. Jill (Shainholtz) had a bunch, and four blocks, also.”

“It’s just hustle and concentrating on when the ball is there,” Martin said of the team’s rebounding.

At halftime, the Rams led 25-11, but in the third quarter, the Rams defense regained control, shutting out the Saints.

“We’ve had some close games this year, but we’ve let teams come back into the game,” Rivera said. “We’re trying to learn how to get the lead and hold it.”

Fight till the finish

Still facing a halfcourt press that the Rams employed all game, the Saints were put out 10 points in the final frame.

“We’ve been working on quick passes to layups,” said Kira Burner, who along with fellow senior Martin was honored before the game. “It really showed because Jill

Shainholtz was down there for the quick, easy shots.”

Shainholtz led the Saints with seven points, while Burner and Hannah Morris each have had five.

For most of the game, Morris and Burner switched off playing point guard.

“Hannah’s a great ball handler, and it gives Kira a chance to get into a shooting position,” Doughty said.

The Rams spread out their scoring between Katie Schalnus (11 points), Kyla Schmidt (nine) and Kelsey Samuelson (eight).

Both teams were proficient from the free throw line, with the Rams going 10-for-13, and the Saints going 6-for-9.

“We have really good shooters. It’s just a matter of getting opportunities. That’s one thing we’ve been struggling with a lot,” Burner said.

Thursday, the Saints host Darren Patterson at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, the girls will be at Crested Butte, starting at 4 p.m, with the guys starting at 5:30 p.m.

Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14631, or icropp@vaildaily.com.

Vail, Colorado


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