Vail Christian rolls over Hoehne to advance to region championship game |

Vail Christian rolls over Hoehne to advance to region championship game

67-40 victory sets up possible rematch with Plateau Valley with a trip to state on the line

Theo Moritz and the Saints advanced to Saturday's region championship with a win over Hoehne on Friday night.
Ryan Sederquist/Vail Daily

Sports writers and fans are allowed to look past an overmatched first-round opponent, especially when the second round could be a tasty matchup. Players? Not so much.

Thankfully, the No. 12 Vail Christian boys basketball (17-3) team didn’t disregard Friday’s regional playoff foe, No. 21 Hoehne (14-9). The Saints powered to a convincing 67-40 win over the Farmers to advance to Saturday’s regional championship.

“I was proud of our defense, I thought we maintained our composure and the guys didn’t look past the Friday night game,” head coach Sheldon Kuhns said.

“I thought the guys played great and I’m proud of how they channeled their emotions tonight.”

The Saints drained nine 3-pointers in the first half and Will Neumann shut down the star Dario Vezzani. Vezzani, who came in averaging 15 points per game for Hoehne, was held to three until the fourth quarter, and finished with just eight.

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“I thought that was fantastic,” Kuhns said, noting that in the second half, the Saints went 19-for-24 from the free throw line as the frustrated Farmers began to foul.

“We really shot the ball well from the line in the second half.”

After leading 35-22 at half, Kuhns’ club stretched the lead to 25 by the end of the third quarter. Theo Moritz scored 24 to lead the Saints and Quinn Downey was a perfect 8-for-8 from the charity strike to pour in 22. Neumann also got into double figures, adding 12.

The Saints will play Saturday at 1 p.m. against the winner of No. 5 Plateau Valley and No. 28 Telluride, a game which had not concluded at press time. The Saints split their two games against the Cowboys (17-3) this year, defeating the league rival 51-45 on Jan. 28 in Vail before falling 42-40 in the 2A District 5 title last weekend. The last time Vail Christian made it to the final eight of the state tournament was 2014.

“They know us, we know them — the guys are clearly excited for the rematch,” Kuhns said. “You don’t alway get a chance to rematch somebody within a week, in a playoff format like this, so it’s unique.”

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