Saints roar back for overtime win
OAK CREEK – The Vail Christian boys’ basketball team will be playing at home on Saturday against Ridgway.Then again, life away from St. Clare hasn’t been too bad for the Saints in the last four days. After the program’s first win at DeBeque Saturday, Vail Christian overcame a 25-10 second-quarter deficit to rally for a 67-64 overtime win Tuesday at Soroco.The two road wins are a tonic for a team which had lost four straight games dating back to December. They are even bigger because the Saints won with contributions from up and down the roster, instead of the early-season pattern of a lot of Caleb Pearson and Jaryd Francis and not much else.
“It’s a lot of things, but the biggest thing is getting the guys to believe in themselves,” said coach Sheldon Kuhns, whose team upped its record to 6-7. “We made a philosophy shift after the Ouray game (Jan. 13). We knew that Jaryd and Caleb couldn’t take every shot. “It’s a mental thing. These guys make the shots in practice, but they’ve deferred to Caleb and Jaryd in games. Caleb and Jaryd have focused on giving them confidence. When they have the ball inside, they kick it out to Chase (Gruber) and A.J. (Burgess), and the shots are going in. They now believe in themselves.”Burgess has to believe after logging 11 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists against the Rams. Burgess, Larry Cavanaugh and Gruber scored all of Vail Christian’s seven points in overtime.
Point guard Will Parker also showed his grit. Soroco’s Bryan Spaeth was tearing up the Saints early. Kuhns put Parker on the Rams’ biggest threat in the second quarter, and Spaeth scored only seven of his 22 points after that adjustment.Of course, the Saints always need their Big Two, and they were huge Tuesday night. All Pearson did was put up 28 points and 19 rebounds. Francis, limited in playing time due to foul trouble, still had 17.In the girls’ game, Vail Christian led 27-24 at the half, but the Rams outscored the Saints, 27-5, in third quarter on their way to a 77-51 win.
Next up is Ridgway Saturday at St. Clare. For fans with old schedules, the girls tip off at 11:30 a.m., followed by the boys at 1 p.m.Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or email@example.com.
Support Local Journalism
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.