Saints boys basketball takes home league title |

Saints boys basketball takes home league title

From left to right, Vail Christian's Mason Daniels, Cooper Gould, Connor Dalbow, Danny Caballero and Sug Ellsworth have a fun Senior Night Saturday in Edwards. Not only did the Saints beat DeBeque, but they won the school's first league championship in basketball.
Special to the Daily |

EDWARDS — It is a historic irony that Vail Christian boys basketball clinched the school’s first league title against DeBeque, 93-31, on Saturday afternoon at the Wheeler Athletic Center in Edwards.

While the current edition of Saints were either in diapers or scrambling around as tykes when Vail Christian started playing basketball teams like DeBeque that pounded the Saints regularly, Saturday’s win brings everything full circle.

“How good does that sound,” said Saints coach Sheldon Kuhns about the moniker league champions. “Back in the early days, I didn’t think it would ever happen. The ultimate goal is the state championship, but a league title is a big deal.”

In a nice touch, the Saints (13-6) clinched the deal on Senior Day, with the seniors doing big things in the win.

All Sug Ellsworth did was score 34 points and have 21 rebounds. As for those video-game numbers, 34 points is the new school record, breaking the previous logjam at 33, held by Caleb Pearson, Gunnar Wilson, Parker Poage and Ellsworth himself. The 21 rebounds ties an old school record now shared with Matt Seatvet.

“Not a bad Senior Night,” Kuhns joked.

Speaking of seniors, all Cooper Gould did was a have a double-double, 13 points and 10 rebounds. Senior Danny Caballero set a school record with 11 assists in one game. He also had 11 points. And senior Mason Daniels had a career-high seven points.

Just as importantly, the Saints played a crisp game on both sides of the court as the Saints venture into the district tournament next weekend at Cedaredge. There Vail Christian, champions of the Gore League, face the No. 2 seed from the Mesa League, Paonia. Soroco and Meeker face off in the other game.

Girls make history, too

Vail Christian girls basketball wasn’t going to be left out of the party. The Saints also beat DeBeque, 54-18, for their 13th win of the season.

That is the most wins by any girls basketball team in school history.

“That was their goal, and they reached it,” Saints coach Beth Raitt said.

The biggest goal as Vail Christian enters districts is to get healthy. Without Jessie Raitt (flu) and Kass Baker (hip), the Saints were just fine. Freshman Mart Schmidt went off for 18 points and Susan Vanderveer had 10.

“We were able to play a lot of reserve players, which will really help us down the road,” coach Raitt said. “Coco Spangler also showed great leadership.”

The Saints enter the postseason as the No. 2 seed from the Gore and will face Mesa champ, Cedaredge.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, and @cfreud.

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