Vail Christian puts away Bulldogs, 63-40
EDWARDS – The “good” Vail Christian boys basketball team showed up Tuesday night against Cornerstone Christian.The passing was crisp, the shooting solid, the scoring balanced and the Saints dispatched the visiting Bulldogs, 63-40., to move to 9-8.The key – as it has been all season, befitting a team hovering around .500 – is consistency. Can the Saints do the same Saturday against Soroco is what is essentially a must-win game?Win or lose, districts lie ahead, but a loss means heading to No. 2 Meeker, not exactly an enviable task, while a win likely involves a trip to Hayden, where the Saints are hoping that the law of averages will kick in finally. (The Tigers are 4-0 against Vail Christian the last two years, but every game has been close.)”I wish it were a formula,” Saints coach Sheldon Kuhns said. “I wish if I did A, B and C in practice, I could guarantee that. It’s kind of an experience thing. As the year has gone on, we have become more consistent. Guys are playing hard. They just have to relax. Play hard, but enjoy the competition. Those shots will start falling.”Tuesday night, the senior leadership of Larry Cavanaugh and Kieran Hurtt was on display. Under the weather, Cavanaugh still went hard to the bucket for eight points and Hurtt with a quiet six, not to mention taking two not so-quiet charges, (In the future, trying to run over someone like Austin Ellsworth, as opposed to a senior all-league linebacker, might be a better idea.) Fernando Hernandez continued his rapid development as a legitimate heir apparent to Will Parker at the point, with 10 points, and some jaw-dropping assists. Granger Moch had 10, inclduing a sweet 3 at the haltime buzzer.Freshman Nigel Johnsen was knocking down free throws in the fourth quarter like a veteran. And, oh by the way, the team’s leading scorer Tuesday night was again Robby Bowles, who came off the bench with 17 points.”I think we have a lot of potential,” Moch said. “We’ve got Fernando’s ball-handling. Robby and I can shoot the ball sometimes. Teller (Emmer)’s great on D. Larry’s great at the post, so we can be a really great team when we execute.”Part of the consistency issue is certainly this mixing of old and new. Younger kids play like it, although that seems to be applying less and less to “young” Bowles. And honestly, seniors Cavanaugh and Hurtt aren’t Caleb Pearson and Jaryd Francis, Vail Christian classes of 2007 and 2008, the type of post players who can take a team by the scruff and win a game. (This is not a slight in any way to the current seniors. The duo’s talent in leading a team to vicotry was more than on display on the gridiron last fall.)There’s also issue of home court. The Saints are 6-1 in their digs in Edwards with the only loss being Meeker, yet another reason Vail Christian needs to beat Soroco, and 3-8 on the road. “It’s consistency,” Kuhns said. “Tonight, fortunately, we got away with some of the inconsistency that cost us at Plateau Valley (last week). We’re putting pressure on them in the paint. We’re putting pressure on them in the perimeter. We put pressure on them in transition. It’s pick your poison. It’s just a matter of settling.”Soroco comes to town Saturday with the girls playing at 4 p.m., followed by the boys at 5:30 p.m.GRAND JUNCTIONGrand Junction 65Battle Mountain boys 31Battle Mountain boys basketball ran into a buzzsaw Tuesday night falling to Grand Junction, 65-31.”The kids played hard,” Battle Mountain coach Tom Padilla said. “We just ran into a good team on a good night. We’ll let it go and get ready for Delta.” Parker Lathrop led the Huskies with 10 points, while Edward Banegas had nine.The Huskies resume league play at Delta Friday.Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or email@example.com.
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