Vail Christian girls lose nail-biter to Meeker in Edwards |

Vail Christian girls lose nail-biter to Meeker in Edwards

Vail Christian's Jessie Raitt breaks away from Meeker defenders as she sprints down the court on Saturday in Edwards. The Saints lost a tough one to Meeker, 56-55.
Max Phannenstiel | Special to the Daily |

EDWARDS — Vail Christian girls basketball is in the middle of “The Gauntlet,” and, it’s been a tough ride.

The Saints’ 56-55 loss to Meeker on Saturday at the Wheeler Athletic Center in Edwards is just a part of a stretch against the 2A Slope’s best. Saturday’s game came on the heels of a 60-51 loss to No. 7-ranked Soroco on Friday. Next up? Vail Christian heads to No. 1 Paonia on Friday.

“I think, just in general, we’re getting into our stride,” Saints coach Jesse Raitt said. “We didn’t peak in the beginning. We’re starting to play as a team. They played well. We had great composure. We know what we did right. We know what we need to work on.”

On a completely unrelated note, there’s a darn good chance the Saints (7-5 overall and 3-2 in the 2A Slope) may see, say, Soroco or Meeker again at districts.

And Vail Christian would probably feel OK taking its chances in that hypothetical scenario, given how they played Saturday.

Saints sophomore Sarah Heredia started the fourth quarter with two consecutive 3s to give her team a 47-44 lead.

“Best game she’s had all season,” Raitt said. “In all these tough games we’ve put her in and let her sweat it out and it’s paid off. She’s playing like a veteran.”

Meeker’s Maggie Phelan answered from downtown to tie it at 47. Kass Baker hit free throws down the stretch to tie it at 51 and 53. Phelan jarred another 3 with 1:34 left, which turned out to be the dagger.

Jesse Raitt led Vail Christian with 16 points, while Baker had 13.

Cowboys complete sweep

As the late Yogi Berra said, “Baseball is 90 percent mental. The other half is mental.”

While Doug Bruce will look into the faulty math of the Hall of Famer, consider Vail Christian boys’ basketball’s loss to Meeker on Saturday night a mental defeat.

“We hung in there. That got away from us at the end,” Saints coach Sheldon Kuhns said. “With four minutes to go, I thought we still had a shot. I think today was about mental toughness and rebounding. They exposed our youth today.”

This will happen. The key is how the Saints (5-7, 5-2) rebound. Given the squad’s learning curve so far this season, it will probably be a good result. As always, past performance does not guarantee future results.

Bryan Trujillo led Vail Christian with 16 points, while Sebastian Moritz had a quiet night with seven.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, and @cfreud.