Saints get win over Aspen before break
EDWARDS — Offensive masterpiece? No.
Well-earned win? You bet.
Vail Christian girls basketball kicked off the Christmas season in style on Friday night at the Wheeler Athletic Center in Edwards with a 26-15 win over Aspen.
“It’s been a stressful week with finals, but it’s good to end it with a win,” said junior Kass Baker, who led the Saints with 10 points.
The Saints took a step toward being full strength as sophomore point-guard Jessie Raitt played eight minutes in the first half, getting her feet wet, or more specifically, her knee wet. That was her first appearance of the season after a soccer injury in the spring.
This has left senior Remy Beveridge, who was unavailable Friday night on a college trip, and freshman Sarah Heredia manning the point. At times, that’s led to rough patches this season. Against the Skiers, Heredia provided a spark with some good passes and serious hustle.
“We are definitely having her mature quickly,” Vail Christian coach Beth Raitt said. “I’ve known her since she was 4, so we have a good working relationship. I think Sarah did an excellent job.”
That helped the Saints break open a 6-6 game at the end of one quarter. Marti Schmidt gave Vail Christian the lead for good early in the second quarter, Baker had the next four — two from the line and a layup.
Along those lines, the Saints did a very good job of taking the ball to the hole, and getting the visiting Skiers in foul trouble in both halves.
Vail Christian pulled away with four more from Baker in the third, and a hard-nosed layup from Jessie Hartley in the third quarter. Heredia closed out that period with a layup of her own and a nifty pass to Brittney Bossow for another bucket.
Vail Christian’s defense certainly helped the cause by not allowing Aspen a field goal during the second and third quarters.
And the Saints finished a tough December nonconference schedule with a mark of 4-2.
“I feel very good about this team,” Raitt said. “They’re giving 100 percent in the classroom and on the court.
Skiers’ 3s sink Vail Christian
Vail Christian boys basketball expected a challenge with Aspen’s height.
What the Saints did not expect was a team that was also red-hot from 3-point land as well.
Down 37-20 at the half, the Saints, nonetheless, made a game of it during a 59-51 loss to the Skiers on Friday night.
“They kind of surprised us with a small lineup to counter us,” Vail Christian coach Sheldon Kuhns said. “(Jack Rosenthal) was on fire. They were all on fire.”
Aspen came out like a house on fire in the first half. Jake Rosenthal, A.J, Detrick and Will Hazen combined for four 3s in the first quarter alone. In the second quarter, Rosenthal jarred three more treys and Hazen — yep, the golfer — made it eight 3s in the first half, to send the Saints reeling.
Yet, Vail Christian (3-2) got off the deck, a good sign for any team, and a great omen for a sophomore-dominated team, which shall not be called young by edict of its head coach.
One of the linchpins of the comeback was putting Bryan Trujillo on Rosenthal in the second half. Trujillo did a good job defensively and that freed up Alex Davis and others offensively and the Saints started making noise.
Logan Raitt’s 3 at the end of the third closed the lead to 47-36. What’s more, the Saints were able to negotiate their way through the forest that was Aspen’s defense with layups by Davis and Trujillo. This bodes well for Vail Christian when, inevitably, it will be smaller team in league play.
Vail Christian got it within five points three different times in the final 1:53 before Aspen was able to sink free throws to ice it.
“I’m proud of the guys,” Kuhns said. “They could have given up when they were down by 17. Man, that was definitely huge. They have a heart of a champion.”
Sebastian Moritz finished with points for the Saints, while Raitt had 12.
The Saints are off for the break and return with the league opener on Jan. 8 at West Grand.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.