Vail Christian Saints boys beat Golddiggers, advance to Sweet 16
BYERS — Nerves in the playoffs?
Vail Christian boys basketball ran out to a 10-0 lead and never looked back, dusting Clear Creek, 74-55, during the first round of the Class 2A Region D Tournament at Byers High School on Friday, March 2.
In the lidlifter of the postseason doubleheader, the host Bulldogs beat Union Colony Prep, 85-68, to set up the regional final, aka a Sweet 16 matchup, between Byers and the Saints on Saturday, March 3, at 2 p.m.
“It felt really good to get out of the Western Slope,” Vail Christian coach Sheldon Kuhns said. “Of course, we like our league, it’s just nice to have a breath of fresh air and see some new teams.”
Not to mention it was 75 degrees in Byers when the Saints (18-5) arrived. Warm weather was fine for Vail Christian as the Saints moved the ball really well with their backcourt teaming up for 15 assists — Sebastian Moritz with nine dimes and Bryan Trujillo with six.
When Vail Christian moves the ball like that, the team ends up with five players in double-digits. Zach McKeever led with 17 points, and Joseph Emmer had 16. Moritz and Trujillo both finished with 11 each, while Alec Moritz had 10.
On the rebounding front, Ethan Kuhns led the way with 10, while McKeever had seven.
As always with this club, the issue was defense. The mark was the Golddiggers’ Noah Saria, who came into the game averaging 25.9 points per contest. (And yes, he’s the running back/wide receiver who did a lot of damage to the Saints during football season.) He scored nine on Friday, with seven coming during the fourth quarter after everything was pretty much decided.
“Good team effort,” Sheldon Kuhns said. “We’re excited to be in the Sweet 16.”
Vail Christian got a look at Byers before its game. The Bulldogs like to run, which should provide an interesting contrast in playing styles as the Saints have abandoned their run-and-gun offense this season for a half-court game with a heavy dose of the 3.
Saints fall to Holyoke
DEL NORTE — It was a familiar story for Vail Christian girls basketball as the Saints suffered a offensive power outage during the first half of a 52-35 loss to Holyoke during the first round of the 2A Region G Tournament on Friday, March 2, in Del Norte.
Vail Christian managed just 10 points during the first half and were down by 19 to the Dragons at the break. This was a similar pattern to last weekend’s district tournament in losses to Meeker and Soroco — slow first halves and good second halves.
Vail Christian finishes the season at 14-10.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.