Vail Christian hoops takes two from Hayden
EDWARDS — And that shot will get longer with every telling.
“Remember when Bryan Trujillo hit that shot from the other team’s baseline?”
“Remember when Bryan made that shot from the other side of Highway 6?”
“Remember when Bryan made that shot from the other side of Highway 6 … to win the state championship … and got the foul?”
As it was, Trujillo jarred a buzzer-beater a bit past the top of the key from Hayden’s end during a 59-20 win over the Tigers on Saturday night at the Wheeler Athletic Center.
“There was one game where my own crowd got me on the 3-2-1, and I shot it and it hit the backboard. I don’t usually practice that,” Trujillo said. “It’s fun. I’ll definitely remember that.”
The long-distance 3-pointer gave the Saints (5-2 overall and 2-0 in the Gore League) a 20-4 lead after eight minutes and that was pretty much all she wrote.
And with that, the don’t-call-them-young Saints completed a terrific weekend.
“We’ve started league 2-0, “ Saints coach Sheldon Kuhns said. “Defensively, we gave up 29 last night and 20 tonight. The guys are just fighting — 32 minutes, just getting after it.”
For those who have watched Vail Christian and Hayden play throughout the years, it was eerie to see the Saints handle the Tigers easily. (The Vail Christian boys went through years of frustration against Hayden.) But the Tigers right now are very young and make the Saints look like a bunch of grizzled vets.
And a team aspiring to be a contender needs to take care of opponents that are struggling. Done and done on that count.
The Saints wiped out any chance of an upset early against the Tigers. Vail Christian built a 17-2 first-quarter lead, which included a 3-point play from Logan Raitt, and a normal-sized three from Trujillo.
The Saints ended up with balanced scoring as Trujillo and Raitt both had 12, while Sebastian Moritz finished with 11. Also on the score sheet were Kedrick Kinsella, Luke Wilson and Alex Hilty with their first varsity points.
Saints girls bounce back
That was exactly what Vail Christian girls basketball needed after a tough loss at West Grand on Friday night.
The Saints ran all over Hayden on Saturday afternoon at the Wheeler Athletic Center in Edwards, topping the Tigers, 56-30.
“Last night was tough, but tonight was nice,” Saints senior Remy Beveridge said. “We’re happy to have everyone together.”
Vail Christian (5-3 overall and 1-1 in the Gore League) led 18-3 after the first quarter and was still cruising at the half, 30-13, having played most of the second period with its bench.
While the point total was impressive, it was the result of great defense, which is the takeaway for the day. The Saints’ full-court press caused delightful chaos for Hayden (3-5, 0-2). Turnovers from the press led to easy buckets. It didn’t hurt that Vail Christian crushed it on the boards, resulting in more quick transitions or put backs with defensive and offensive rebounds.
“That’s where we can shine,” Saints coach Beth Raitt said. “That’s where we have some great talent. They’re very fast, very tall and have great hands. We need to have transition scoring. And we were able to finish the shots.”
While others racked up the points, give it up for Jessie Hartley and Remy Beveridge. Those two did the so-called dirty work of crashing the board and communicating that makes it all go.
“I think they kill it every time,” Beveridge said of the offense. “My job is to see the whole court and be a communicator. Weird, how that works.”
She jokes because that exactly what she does on the same hardwood in the fall as the volleyball team’s setter.
The visible evidence of defense making offense happen came in the first quarter as the Saints built an 11-0 lead. Of those first five field goals, four were layups — Jessie Raitt twice, Marti Schmidt and Kass Baker. For the trivially inclined, Jessie Hartley had a baseline jumper during that stretch.
Schmitt ended up leading the Saints with 18 points. Meanwhile, Raitt, who’s looking more confident as she returns from a knee injury, had 15. Kass Baker came off bench with 15.
Next up for the Saints is a rivalry showdown with Soroco on Tuesday in Edwards. The girls tip at 7, followed by the boys at 8:30 p.m. In scores of interest to Vail Christian basketball fans, the Soroco ladies beat West Grand, 71-68, on Saturday, while the Rams boys topped the Mustangs, 70-55.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, email@example.com and @cfreud.