Lady Panthers set the tone for basketball in Grand County
We’re nearly a month into basketball season in Grand County, and the respective identities of our high school teams have begun to take shape. While a couple of the teams have been able to hold their own thus far, others are preparing for what could be a very long season.
Middle Park Girls
The Middle Park Panthers are off to the hottest start in the county, tallying a 4-2 record under Head Coach Mike Reigan. After a troubling 1-2 start, the Lady Panthers have bounced back in convincing fashion.
After a disappointing defeat at Bishop Machebeuf earlier this month, Middle Park rebounded with a 38-30 win against the SkyView Academy Hawks. The Panthers followed up the win by defeating the West Grand Mustangs in a close 32-27 match-up, before heading to Federal Heights for a dominant 54-21 victory against The Pinnacle Timberwolves.
A big part of the Panther’s success has been defense. They’ve allowed just 26 points per game during the three-game win streak, after allowing more than 40 points in two of their first three games.
The Panthers are currently tied for first in the Frontier Girls Basketball standings with a 1-0 league record, and will look to extend their win streak against the 5-1 St. Mary’s Academy Wildcats at home on Jan. 6.
Middle Park Boys
The Middle Park boys had a much more difficult start to their season, dropping their first six games. The Panthers failed to bounce back from a disappointing 33-point loss at Summit High School opening day, and so far haven’t been able to close out tight games against Bishop Machebeuf and West Grand.
The Panthers are allowing 59 points on a per game basis, but averaging only 45, led by Sophomore Evan Laraby who is averaging over 10 PPG. Junior Jackson Wolle is second on the team in both points PPG, nine, and rebounds-per-game with four. Junior Ben Kuhnel is pacing the team with 4.8 RPG.
Middle Park has a chance to finally get in the win column against the 1-6 Bennett Tigers at home on Jan. 12.
West Grand Girls
While the West Grand Lady Mustangs started the season off right, taking a 45-30 victory against Loveland Classical during the Front Range Baptist Invitational, the season has turned rather sour. The Mustangs lost their next six games, bringing their total record to 1-6 on the year.
The West Grand girls haven’t been getting blown out, but haven’t been able to close out closely contested games. The Mustangs lost by five points to Front Range Baptist, Middle Park and Clear Creek, and dropped a six-point game to Gilpin County.
The Mustangs have a chance to turn their season around with league games starting in January. Up next for West Grand is an away game against the 3-3 Meeker Cowboys, before returning home to take on the undefeated Vail Christian Saints.
West Grand Boys
The Mustang boys are holding strong after a tough 1-2 opening to the season, winning two of their last three games on their way to a respectable 3-3 record thus far. After a disheartening 59-25 stomping from Front Range Baptist earlier this year, the Mustangs took back-to-back wins in a close 46-43 game at Gilpin County, and a 44-38 victory over Middle Park.
The Mustangs lost their last game against the Clear Creek Golddiggers, 61-54, despite a dominant 22-point, 12-rebound performance from Junior Austin Stauffer.
League games kick off in January, starting with a match against the 3-2 Meeker Cowboys, before facing off against the 4-1 Vail Christian Saints at home on Jan. 6.
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Taking on No. 5 ranked Coal Ridge in the Class 3A state tournament, the Middle Park boys soccer team fell 3-0 on Thursday in New Castle.