Saints boys beat Hotchkiss; next stop regionals
DEBEQUE — Happy bounce-back Saturday.
Vail Christian boys basketball rebounded from a tough loss to Cedaredge during Friday night’s District 5 Tournament semifinals with a 52-45 victory over Hotchkiss on Saturday to take third place in the tourney.
“Third place in this (district). I wouldn’t have guessed that at the beginning of the year,” Saints coach Sheldon Kuhns said. “We’re pretty happy with that.”
The Saints (16-6) were in the driver’s seat most of the way. Vail Christian led 40-26 after three quarters.
Logan Raitt busted out for 22 points, while David Caballero had a career-high 10 points coming off the bench.
Alex Davis, still nursing a tender ankle, was big with nine rebounds, and Bryan Trujillo chipped in 10 points.
Saints girls fall to Soroco
Vail Christian senior Jessie Hartley went down with a right-knee injury on Saturday against Soroco, and to add insult to injury, the Rams won, 53-51, on a late 3-pointer by Morgan George.
Coach Jessie Raitt is not a doctor, nor does she play one on television, but she said Hartley’s injury seemed severe. Hartley has had a tremendous second half on the court, but more importantly, has been one of the team’s leaders.
“We had an emotional game,” Raitt said. “No matter whatever happens with the MRI, Jessie will be (at regionals) to lead the team. That won’t change.”
Again, the Saints, also 16-6, played with one of the best teams in the state, but just came up short. Overshadowed by Hartley’s injury was an outstanding performance by Kass Baker. She had 10 points and 16 rebounds. Ten of the latter were on the offensive side of the court.
Both teams are still qualified for next week’s regional tournament to be held at Coal Ridge and Rifle high schools. Here’s how it works.
Districts 5 and 7 send four teams each.
District 5 boys qualifiers: Paonia, Cedaredge, Vail Christian and Hotchkiss.
District 7 boys qualifiers: Resurrection Christian, Highland, Alexander Dawson and Dayspring Christian.
District 5 girls qualifiers: Paonia, Cedaredge, Soroco and Vail Christian.
District 7 girls qualifiers: Union Colony, Highland, Clear Creek and Lyons.
Both the boys’ and girls’ teams will be seeded from 1-8 in a meeting today. Seed Nos. 1, 4, 5 and 8 will play in one tournament, while Seed Nos. 2, 3, 6 and 7 will play in another. The winners of both advance to state.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.