Vail Christian basketball loses heartbreaker
DELTA – Vail Christian boys’ basketball was in tight games all season, so it was only appropriate the Saints’ season finale in districts last weekend went down to the buzzer.Up by eight with two minutes remaining against Norwood, the Saints lost the lead and the game, 43-42.”It was a heartbreaker, for sure,” Saints coach Sheldon Kuhns said. “It’s kind of the way our season has gone all year. I think that was seven games that we were leading in the fourth quarter this year, and ended up losing.”
On the positive side of the ledger, the Saints won a few close games of their own, including a 55-50 win at league champion, Ouray, the Saints’ first win over the Trojans in program history. The Saints compiled their best 1A Mountain League record with a 5-3 mark. In the process, Vail Christian beat every league opponent for the first time. Doubtless, the sweetest of those wins came on Jan. 21 at St. Clare when the Saints crushed archrival, DeBeque, 69-37, after going 0-10 against the Dragons the five season previous. At future reunions, that win will get bigger with each telling.”We didn’t quite live up to the expectations that we had for ourselves, and others had for ourselves,” Kuhns said. “With a brand-new program, we’re still building. We were in every game, except for the (2A) Meeker game. We just came out on the short side a couple too many times.”With the loss, the Saints (9-11) bid farewell to seniors Jonathan Armstead, Josh Sibley and Oliver Ristow.
“Those three have been huge,” Kuhns said. “They really poured their heart and their soul into this team for four years. I felt disappointed for them that they didn’t get that playoff win that they deserved. “When they came in, the basketball program was only a year or two old. Not many kids came into Vail Christian thinking that they were going to play basketball. Now this year, 10 freshmen came out for the team. That’s because of this senior class.”The girls finished an injury filed season with a loss to DeBeque. Seniors Cecila Martin and Kira Burner made their final appearances in Saints’ blue, silver and white.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14630 or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail, Colorado