Schmidt lifts Vail Christian over Eagles |

Schmidt lifts Vail Christian over Eagles

EDWARDS, Colorado ” Vail Christian boys basketball coach Sheldon Kuhns spoke with senior center Chris Schmidt earlier this week.

“He was just telling me that I had a lot of potential, and that I could be a pretty big player in the league,” Schmidt said.

“We just talked, ‘Hey, Chris, you’re a senior now,'” Kuhns said. “‘You’re not playing a role anymore. You need to step up.'”

The coach had no complaints after No. 43 helped led the Saints to a 42-37 win against Paonia in Vail Christian’s 2A Slope opener Friday night. Not only did he lead his team with 14 points, but the senior was seemingly all over the court all evening.

“He had an outstanding game today,” Kuhns said. “He came out rebounding, blocking shots, running the floor, scoring layups. He can be special, and tonight, he took the bull by the horns and went for it.”

With the win the Saints evened their record at 3-3, and more importantly, started their maiden voyage in the 2A Slope with a win. And overshadowed by Schmidt was the fact that the Saints, despite nearly a month-long layoff from their last game, looked really sharp in transition, which will be critical as the season resumes.

“We got some transition baskets early which was nice. Nice win,” Kuhns said. “(The layoff) was difficult. We really worked hard this week with getting that game intensity. We were a little rusty offensively executing, but we had the right game intensity and the right tempo.”

Larry Cavanaugh had 11 points for the Saints while the backcourt of Will Parker and A.J. Burgess combined for 14.

The Saints’ defense was also stout, holding the visiting Eagles to 14 points in the first half. Both Cavanaugh and Schmidt deftly took charges in the first 16 minutes as Vail Christian took control of the paint.

Paonia’s Jordan VanVleet was a particular concern to the Saints and Schmidt and the Saints held him to six points in the first half.

Vail Christian hits the road today with a 4 p.m. game at North Park.

Lady Saints fall

In the lidlifter Friday night, the Paonia girls basketball team’s press was too much for Vail Christian as the Eagles raced out to a 25-8 halftime lead on the way to a 49-27 win against the host Saints.

“That’s one of the best teams we’ve seen,” Saints coach Doug Bruce said. “Their press caused us trouble and we had a hard time adjusting to it early. But in the second half we were able to get into more of a rhythm.”

Sammy Francis led Vail Christian with seven points, while Brook Bowles had six, and Alexis Ellsworth five. Bruce felt that the Saints’ second-half surge of 19 points will provide some momentum as they travel to North Park for a 2:30 p.m. game.

Huskies hockey wins

VAIL ” Battle Mountain hockey wasted no time Friday night against Fountain Valley.

The Huskies scored one minute into the game on a tally by Mitch Lammert and cruised to a 6-0 win against the Danes at Dobson Arena.

Cody Kleisinger followed with the first of his two power-play goals. In between those markers, Jack Sunderland struck for the Huskies. Tasha Wyatt and captain Geoff Funk scored while Battle Mountain was short-handed in the third period.

The Huskies (5-3 overall, 2-0 in the Peak Conference) host Cheyenne Mountain tonight at 6 at Dobson.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or

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