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Vail Christian earns weekend split

Ian Cropp

EDWARDS – The Vail Christian boys basketball team avenged an early-season loss against Battle Mountain’s JV with a 74-63 win over the Huskies at St. Clare on Saturday.”We’ve been in a rut lately, and we decided to break the mold,” said Vail Christian coach Sheldon Kuhns. “We went into a full-court man-to-man defense all game to try something different. We changed up our substitution pattern and tried to run instead of rely on size. Our guys responded well.”Once again, Caleb Pearson led the Saints in scoring, grabbing a game-high, career-best and school-record 34 points, along with 14 rebounds.”He had a monster game,” Kuhns said.The Saints built a 21-16 lead in the first quarter, and tacked on more points to their lead in the second and third quarter.In the final frame, Battle Mountain attempted to slow down the Vail Christian offense. “We got behind and had to foul them, and they nailed their free throws,” said Battle Mountain assistant coach Bob Reed. “We cut a 17-point lead down.”Unlike in their previous meeting when the Saints went 12-for-25 from the line, the Saints converted down the stretch, going 23-for-34 on the game for free throws, well above their 40-percent season average.”The biggest difference for us besides aggressive play was the free-throw line,” Kuhns said.But the Huskies refused to give up in the face of solid Vail Christian shooting.”They didn’t give up,” Reed said of his team. “They scrapped and did everything they could.”Leading the Huskies was Zac Adamson.”He was all over the place,” Reed said. “He had about half a dozen steals, and most of them turned into layups at the other end.”Battle Mountain’s Gustavo Bronfield had a good game on the offensive end of the court.For the Saints, Josh Sibley netted 13 points and picked up six rebounds, while Jaryd Francis had 11 points and seven assists.Before the game, the Saints honored Jonathan Armstead, who played in his final home game, collecting 10 points and five assists.Off the bench, Tim Ragan, Oliver Ristow, Chase Gruber and Blake Gruber provided some good defense, Kuhns said.Dragons too much for SaintsDEBEQUE – The Vail Christian defense that limited DeBeque for 37 points in the teams’ previous meeting didn’t show up Friday night.DeBeque outscored Vail Christian, 25-8, in the third quarter en route to a 65-55 victory.”We let them score a lot more than the last time we played them,” Kuhns said. “It was one of those nights when we were reeling and didn’t play to our ability. We were a step slow on defense everywhere.”The Saints’ Chase Gruber wasn’t in action, and two players also played with the flu, Kuhns said. “I’ve got to give it to DeBeque, they stepped up and played better in their gym,” Kuhns said.For the Saints, Pearson was once again the leading scorer with 22 points, followed by Francis (13) and Armstead (10).At halftime, the teams were tied at 25, but the Dragons earned a 17-point lead in the third quarter that the Saints weren’t able to overcome. The loss drops the Saints to 3-2 in league.The girls also lost to DeBeque on Friday, 60-14.Vail Christian hosts Soroco Tuesday, with the girls starting at 5 p.m., followed by the boys at 6:30 p.m.Bidez takes goldVIVALDI PARK, SOUTH KOREA – Minturn’s Clair Bidez finished first in the halfpipe at Saturday’s World Junior Championships. Bidez, who placed first in the qualifier, threw down a second run of back-to-back 540s and head-high straight airs, sealing the gold.Dylan Bidez was the top American finisher on the men’s side, placing sixth. Bidez used smooth style and huge straight airs to get himself into the finals.The Associated Press contributed to this report. Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14631, or icropp@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado


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