Saints double up the Demons, twice
EDWARDS – No coach wants to see two starters in street clothes on the bench. But every coach dreams the team will perform well without them.Vail Christian assuaged any fears coach Sheldon Kuhns might have had that the absence of Jaryd Francis and Will Parker would have brought about anything but a win in Saturday’s basketball game against Ridgway.The Saints got 20 points out of Caleb Pearson, and a solid team effort to blow past the Demons, 50-24 in Edwards.”Not only are we missing points from Jaryd, but (Will and Jaryd) are our energy guys offensively and defensively,” Kuhns said. “We talked about it as a staff before the game, and said it’s a good thing to have two guys hurt against Ridgway, to get the young guys good experience.”Everyone chipped in for Vail Christian, from solid ball control and defense by A.J. Burgess, to boards and points from freshman Larry Cavanaugh. And of course, Pearson was his usual stellar self.”(Caleb) is the anchor and everything else works around that,” Kuhns said.
In addition to his game-high scoring, Pearson led all players with 17 rebounds -seven on offense – and seven blocks.The Saints overcame a slow first half, in which they led 7-4 after eight minutes, and 19-11 after 16, with a dominant performance on both sides of the ball for the remainder of the game.Chase Gruber nailed two treys and converted on a three-point play for nine points. Burgess had four points, but impressed Kuhns most when he didn’t have the ball.”He’s playing great for us now. He’s playing good defense. Usually, I have to take him out when it comes to defense, but now we’re putting him on their good players,” Kuhns said.Bubba Murray and Cavanaugh added six points each, with Cavanaugh pulling in five boards as well.”Most of our points are scored by the starting five, and that needs to change, or else we’ll have a weak team next year,” Burgess said.Elliot Ristow moved the ball around the court well, as did Dustin Martin when Ristow got into foul trouble.
Kuhns doesn’t expect Parker and Francis to be sidelined for too longDemons can’t contain SaintsBefore Ridgway plays the Vail Christian girls’ basketball team again, it may want to reassess defensive strategies.The Demons, looking to shut down the Saints’ Danielle Cavanaugh, committed two big errors in neglecting Vail Christian’s Bianca Jensen and sending Cavanaugh to the free throw line.Despite a slow start, Vail Christian cruised past Ridgway, 48-24, Saturday afternoon. Cavanaugh dropped a game-high 17 points, with Jensen scoring 16.In the first half, with the Saints trailing 14-7, Cavanaugh got the hot hand, and netted eight points, helping her team take a 19-17 edge into the lockers.
“Going into the half with that two-point lead helped a lot, knowing we didn’t play our best in the first and were still winning the game,” said Vail Christian coach Patrick Beaudine.Cavanaugh went 6-for-7 from the line in the first half, and finished 9-for-11.”I love three throws,” Cavanaugh said. “I get really upset when I miss them – all my teammates will tell you.”Beaudine saw the Ridgway defense was honing in on Cavanaugh with a box-and-one setup, and made an adjustment.”We put (Danielle) at the two post and that opened up everything wide for Bianca, and she stepped up big,” Beaudine said.Jensen spearheaded a 15-3 Saints’ run by nailing four field goals to start the third quarter. In addition to her offensive contributions, Jensen pulled in a game-high 14 rebounds, and wreaked havoc on Ridgway’s guards.”Since Bianca is so quick, we put her down at the full court press, and she got so many deflections. On our first trap, our girls are getting a lot more confident in our press, and we harassed them the whole game with that,” Beaudine said.
Cavanaugh, even with a defender shadowing her, managed to rack up the points.”She played with the poise of a senior,” Beaudine said.Ridgway didn’t help its own cause, committing a inordinate number of fouls. With 6:27 left in the final frame, three of the Demons’ starters had fouled out of the game.Jill Shainholtz added five points for the Saints, with Katie Russ logging a bunch of quality minutes.Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or email@example.com.