Saints finally slay the Dragons
EDWARDS – You think that the members of the Vail Christian boys basketball team remember DeBeque running up the score on the Dragons’ Senior Night to the tune of 107-38 in 2004?How about DeBeque thrashing the Saints, 97-35, and 81-49, in 2003? And the two times DeBeque has ended Vail Christian’s season, including a 49-48 buzzer beater in 2002?That would be a yes.All the frustrations of going 0-10 against DeBeque since the program’s inception spilled out Saturday afternoon as the Saints throttled the Dragons, 69-37, at St. Clare.”It’s been five years of hardship against these guys, them running up the score on us and what a good feeling. What an awesome feeling,” said Saints coach Sheldon Kuhns who will likely not stop smiling until 2009 after Saturday’s win. “Josh (Sibley) and were talking about even if we beat them by a 1,000 points we will not consider it even for what they have done to us in the past,” said senior point guard Jonathan Armstead, who endured seven of those 10 losses. “My sophomore year, it was Senior Night there and they were up 60 points. They took their seniors out and stuck them back in beat us something like 105-39 (sic). This is like a landmark in my life.””It’s indescribable how awesome it is,” said center Caleb Pearson, who had a game-high 23 points. “I am so happy.”
Playing their gameIn the end, the formula for beating the Dragons was a simple one. Vail Christian played its brand of basketball. Much like their counterparts at Battle Mountain, the Saints pounded it into their big men – Pearson, Jaryd Francis (13 points) and Sibley (10). They got some outside pop for balance with 14 from Armstead and four from Blake Gruber.And they wiped the glass clean when it came to rebounding.”The one thing Coach said that we can’t do is let them outrebound us,” Armstead said. “Everybody had to be in position today and that’s what we did and we came out with the W.” The Saints dominated from the start, rolling out to an 18-6 lead in the first quarter. By the second time Armstead hit from downtown, Vail Christian was up 26-10 and giving its big men some space.”I’m just playing my game, getting the ball from Sibley, just doing my job,” Pearson said. “Blake and Jon’s ability to shoot makes it so they play off me a little bit. It’s easier for me.”
Leading 34-17 at the half, the Saints kept pouring it on until Kuhns called a timeout with 3:21 left in the game. He pulled his starters as the Saints’ faithful give his team a standing ovation.”I’m not going to say I’m getting the monkey off … I’m not saying it,” Kuhns said with a laugh.We’ll say it – Vail Christian got the monkey off DeBeque.The Saints (2-1 in the Mountain League and 5-4 overall) are in Eagle-Vail Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. to take on Battle Mountain’s JV.DeBeque coach Aaron Largent declined to comment for this article.Painful loss for Saints
For the Vail Christian girls basketball team, the injuries keep mounting.Already without starters Hannah Morris (knee) and Megan Doughty (shoulder), the Saints lost another starter in Danielle Cavanaugh Saturday in a 54-21 loss to DeBeque.Cavanaugh crumpled to the floor with 1:06 left in the first half, clutching her left knee. The Saints’ bench was visibly shaken by the injury which is likely a torn ACL. Cavanaugh will have an MRI early next week after the swelling has gone down. “We deal with it with fervent prayer, faith that our younger girls will get better and know that’s God’s will,” said Saints coach Paul Doughty before going to the hospital to check up on Cavanaugh. “We talked about it before the game. We just have to accept what happens and work hard. Perhaps, it’s something that’s going to help us for next year’s team.”DeBeque controlled the game all afternoon behind a combined 24 points from the Graham cousins (Haylee and Amanda). Tia Lynch had 13 and Michelle Porter 11 for the Dragons.”I think we came out a little too sluggish. We’ve got to correct that,” DeBeque coach Scott Rienks said. “The second half we got better ball movement, settled down. We held them to two points in the second quarter. Paul’s a little down this year. He’s had so many injuries this year. So we tried to get everybody some playing time.”Doughty will be doing the same without his trio of starters.
“We’ve got four very good freshmen,” Doughty said. “Maty Peckham had five rebounds and a basket in the fourth quarter. Michelle Disher played very good defense. Kirstie Eckert has outstanding speed and a nice shot and Allison (Vossler)’s getting better every day and played solid.”Vail Christian resumes Mountain League play with a home game Friday at 6 p.m. against Crested Butte.Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14630 or email@example.com.Vail, Colorado