Vail Christian basketball sweeps North Park
EDWARDS — It wasn’t exactly a Matisse or a Mondrian, but Vail Christian boys basketball will take it gladly.
In what seemed like a theme for the evening, the Vail Christian lads slogged their way to a 46-35 win over North Park on Friday at the Wheeler Athletic Center in Edwards.
While the Saints are now one win from the school’s first league championship — they host DeBeque today at 4 p.m. in the regular-season finale — the post-game mood wasn’t exactly celebratory.
“We got the W,” Saints coach Sheldon Kuhns said. “It wasn’t crisp, especially early. It helped switching to the zone at halftime. I don’t know if it was a let down after the big game last week or just a long season. It wasn’t our best.”
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Whatever it was, the Saints let visiting North Park hang around all night. With a buzzer-beating layup by Alex Davis to end the third quarter, Vail Christian led only 36-32 after 24 minutes.
Ethan Pence got the Saints moving a bit with a 3, followed by lay-ups from Logan Raitt and Sug Ellsworth. And then came the Saints’ impromptu tribute to the late Dean Smith. The Wildcats sat on the post, so Vail Christian went to the four-corners offense. That worked off plenty of time and the Saints moved to 12-6 overall and 8-1 in the Gore League.
Vail Christian will be playing for a league title today.
“It’s pretty cool. We’ve come a long way from the early days,” said Kuhns, who has coached this program since its inception. “You know, we want that, but these kids have experienced the state tournament, and that’s really the ultimate goal.”
Girls get by Wildcats
It wasn’t exactly a Renoir or Monet, but Vail Christian girls basketball will take it gladly.
With freshman point guard Jessie Raitt not 100 percent with the flu, the Saints struggled, but had enough in the tank to pull out a 31-28 win over North Park on Friday night at the Wheeler Athletic Center.
Remy Beveridge hit a 3 with 2:45 left in the game to give the Saints the lead at last. Just a minute later, freshman Marti Schmidt took a slick pass from Raitt for a lay-in and a 27-24 margin.
With 37 seconds to go, Raitt knocked down both ends of a 1-and-1 and the Saints had their 12th win of the season, tying a school record set back in 2012.
“I think that everyone stepped up into a different position, and that’s difficult,” Saints coach Beth Raitt said. “That’s a well-coached team. North Park, we always worry about them. I think we just found different ways to get the ball into the hoop, even though it wasn’t falling for us at all.”
Both Saints teams close out the regular season with DeBeque today.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.
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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.