Basketball: W. Grand boys go 3-0 in week after winter break
Sky-Hi Daily News
It was a good week for West Grand High School boys basketball, as the Mustangs defeated Clear Creek, 49-42, Soroco, 45-42, and South Park, 61-40.
The Golddiggers had impressive credentials coming into the game, but the Mustangs were able to take Clear Creek out of its game and lead throughout the contest.
West Grand shot 33 freethrows to only four for the visiting Golddiggers. That is almost always an indication that the team which shoots more is a step ahead of the other team.
Freshman Tim Ritschard led the team in scoring with 13 points, while Mackenzie Widener scored 12. Chipping in with six apiece were Cory Davis, Marshall Kraker and Matt Johnson.
Coach Leo Pesch was pleased with the way the team played after the long Christmas vacation.
“Some of the things we have been working on are starting to come together,” Pesch said. “The boys are also starting to learn and fit into their roles.”
On Friday night, the Mustangs outscored Soroco in the second and fourth quarters to pull out the thrilling victory.
The Rams from Oak Creek forged a 17-10 first quarter lead, when Cody Miles of Soroco hit a three-pointer at the first quarter buzzer.
The Mustangs dug deep and outscored Soroco 19-10 in the second quarter, however, and went into halftime with a two-point lead.
Widener had an outstanding second quarter, as he scored 12 points, including nine on three long-range shots.
Davis also nailed a 3-pointer in the quarter as West Grand used an outside attack to take the lead.
In a gritty third quarter, Soroco outscored West Grand, 6-4, to enter the final frame with the scored knotted at 33.
Five different players scored a field goal in the final quarter for the Mustangs as West Grand pulled out the victory in the final seconds.
Rory Menhennett, Connor Widener, Marshall Kraker, Davis and Mackenzie Widener all hit a 2-pointer, and Mackenzie Widener added two freethrows.
“It is always satisfying to win on the road,” Pesch said. “I
always tell the team that the home team has a 10-point advantage, just by being at home. Soroco has a young and aggressive team. I expect we will be battling them in close games again.”
Mackenzie Widener had 22 points to lead the Mustangs, while Davis had eight points. Kraker and Connor Widener had four points apiece.
Miles led the host team from Soroco with 16 points, while Alex Estes had 12 points.
Balanced scoring was the name of the game for the Mustangs in the victory over the South Park Burros.
Ten different players scored for West Grand, with Mackenzie Widener leading the way with 17 points. His brother Connor was next with 12 points while Davis had eight points, Kraker had six and Menhennett and Sky Handyside chipped in with four points apiece.
Through three quarters, the Mustangs slowly pulled away, leading by three, seven and 12 points at the quarter stops. In the final frame, the superior depth of West Grand played a huge factor and the visiting Mustangs outscored South Park, 21-12, to cruise to the final margin of victory.
“I was happy with the week,” coach Pesch said. “It is hard to play three times in a week, especially when you have two back-to-back road games. We needed our bench players to step up and they did.”
The Mustangs are now 5-4 for the season and are riding a three-game win streak after the Christmas break. Play starts in earnest this week, as West Grand travels to Hayden for the first league game of the year.
The Mustangs played Hayden in the second game of the year and were leading in the second half before foul trouble caused the team to fall behind and ultimately lose 59-44.
“Hayden has a style that is hard to describe, but it can be very effective,” coach Pesch said. “I have been stressing the fact that all of the games up to this point don’t mean a thing, as far as league standings and district seeding are concerned. The games that count start this Friday night.”
On Saturday, traditional rival North Park travels to Kremmling as the West Grand Mustangs will battle the North Park Wildcats.
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