Vail Christian High School rolls past Aspen for a sweep
EDWARDS — It’s a world gone Kuhns.
They seem to be everywhere at Vail Christian High School — coaching, scoring (with a pencil or a basketball) and playing.
Whatever the role the fantastic foursome was doing on Friday, Dec. 15, it turned out well for Vail Christian basketball. The Saints rode into Christmas break with a pair of wins over Aspen, as the ladies (6-0) breezed to a 47-18 rout over the Skiers, while the gents finished a 4-1 December with an 81-51 win.
With Kuhns — Sheldon, the boys basketball coach — pushed into interim girls-coaching duties, the Saints didn’t skip a beat.
As any coach will say, it helps to have talent. So Kuhns looked like a genius with point-guard Jessie Raitt going off for 14 points in just the first half.
“You’re the interim coach and you come in, it’s the same people starting,” Kuhns said. “Run your offense. Run your defense. They’re 6-0. I just organize and get out of the way.”
The Saints led 13-0 at the end of eight minutes and were clinging to 29-3 margin at the half.
Brookelyn Kraft joined the parade after eight Raitt points to start the game, and Zoey Barela finished the first period with a shot from downtown.
Barbara O’Brien added three buckets in the second as the Saints were in complete control.
While 2A Vail Christian clearly was a better squad than 3A Aspen, what bodes well with 2A Slope play looming in 2018 was the passing involved.
“Their half-court man offense is a good set,” Kuhns said. “They enter the ball to the cutter or the post really well. I was very impressed with their defense and their weak-side rebounding.”
And just keeping with the Kuhns theme, Abby Kuhns got time in the varsity game after putting up 20 points in the JV game.
Boys beat Aspen for the first time
In other matters Kuhns-ian, Vail Christian senior Ethan Kuhns holds the unofficial record for most Saints basketball watched in a young lifetime.
This mark will doubtless be broken by Brady Ellsworth, 10, by the time he enters his high school years.
Having grown up with Vail Christian basketball, Ethan spent a season of misery last winter, sitting out with a left-knee injury.
So he’s about the happiest person on the planet to be back playing basketball.
“Oh, gosh, it’s the greatest feeling to be back,” Ethan Kuhns said. “Just being back with the boys, I didn’t feel like I was a part of the team last year. Just to be out there contributing, playing hard and being part of the brotherhood is great.”
The Saints are happy to have him back. The glaring need from last season, particularly during an 0-5 December, was a presence in the paint. Kuhns, along with Zach McKeever, in his first full season as a Saint, gives Vail Christian that size.
And that frees up the Saints’ prolific backcourt, which would be the point of the exercise. Sebastian Moritz was stroking the 3-ball during the first half with five from downtown.
He got No. 6 to start the second half. Bryan Trujillo followed with his own trey. Joseph Emmer, who also took two charges, continued the 3-point circus and the Saints led, 59-42, after three. (And let the record state, that the official scorer, marking all this down, is Melita Kuhns, the coach’s better half and mother of Ethan and Abagail.)
Mortiz finished with 26 points, while Trujillo had 15.
All not is perfect in Saints Land. Free-throw shooting was an issue as was foul trouble during the first half, but the Vail Christian boys are a happy bunch after a 4-1 December.
“We started sluggish on the offensive end, but we’re picking it up on the defensive end and we’re moving the ball,” coach Kuhns said. “We’re playing a team game. I’m really happy where we’re at.”
Vail Christian’s teams open league play against North Park on Jan. 5.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.