Saints split on Senior Night with Bulldogs
EDWARDS — And one.
Vail Christian’s girls finished the regular season on a winning note, using a 17-0 run to start the second quarter to take down Hotchkiss, 60-39.
“We needed it. That’s a morale-booster,” Saints coach Beth Raitt said. “We’ve been playing great basketball. We just haven’t been coming out with a win. This feels really good.”
Vail Christian’s 10-9 overall record and 6-4 mark in the 2A Slope is deceiving on two counts. The first is the Saints’ nonconference schedule has been against bigger 3A and 4A schools. Then there’s the top-heavy nature of the 2A Slope with teams like Paonia, Soroco and Meeker.
It looks like the Saints will start District 5 tournament play on Wednesday at Rangely.
Leading just 12-10 after the first period, Vail Christian got humming by charging to the hole for 3-point plays. Marti Schmidt got the first with a lay-up and the successful foul shot. Jesse Raitt was the next with and-one, followed by senior Morgan Calton.
During the 17-0 run, the score sheet said it was all Schmidt, Raitt and Calton, but the Saints as a team were playing aggressive defense and passing brilliantly together.
And that made for a nice senior send-off for Calton and Kass Baker.
“They’re special,” Beth Raitt said. “They do different things. Kass is our leader on the floor. Calton is our mom in the locker room. She keeps everyone pumped. She’s that kind of person. They’ll be missed, but we still have more time to enjoy them.”
Schmidt led the Saints with 18, while Jesse Raitt had 13.
Boys lose in final seconds
That was so much fun that Hotchkiss and Vail Christian will do it all over again on Wednesday.
The visiting Bulldogs edged Vail Christian, 72-71, in the regular-season finale on Friday night on a free throw by Hotchkiss’ Sam Rodriguez with 2.6 seconds left in the game.
The result? The Saints will head to Hotchkiss on Wednesday for the first round of districts.
In a game played at a break-neck pace, the Saints had their chances in the fourth quarter. Joseph Emmer scored three-straight field goals to start the final three minutes as Vail Christian (8-11, 8-4) led 69-66 with 1:34 left.
Rodriguez’s 3 tied it and the Bulldogs took the lead with 24 ticks left on a layup by Zach Allen. Vail Christian charged down the court and tied it at 71 with a Bryan Trujillo layup.
After Rodriquez sank the second of his free throws, Vail Christian had one final chance with Zach McKeever shooting. Hotchkiss got the block, while the Vail Christian begged for the foul to no avail.
Sebastian Moritz led Vail Christian with 18 points, while Trujillo had 16.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, email@example.com and @cfreud.