Colorado Academy exacts revenge against Panthers in Granby |

Colorado Academy exacts revenge against Panthers in Granby

Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi Daily News
ALL | Sky-Hi Daily News

Thursday night in Middle Park High’s gym was a frustrating one for the Panther boys basketball team, which suffered an 84-68 trouncing from Colorado Academy’s Mustangs.

The Panther hoopsters stuck close during a very fast-paced first half but were unable to match the Mustangs’ excellent shooting in the second half.

“Needlessly to say, things did not go the way we’d anticipated,” said coach Brian Reynolds. “Colorado Academy is a good ball club that shoots well and has height on us. For the last three years, we’ve beaten them on their home court, so I think they came here a little mad at us.”

Just how good at shooting the Mustangs are became quickly evident as they racked up an 8-2 lead in the first minute of play with a basket and a couple of three-point shots. Middle Park responded with baskets by Justin Cisneros and Sam Damon, followed by good free-throw shots by Zilvinas Sutkus and Ian Sutton that quickly tied up the score at 8-8.

Counterattacking, Colorado Academy shot back out into the lead with two more three-pointers, but baskets and free throws by Sutton, Sutkus and Mike Schmidt kept Middle Park close. The Mustangs ended the first quarter holding a narrow 29-26 lead.

The Panthers’ Jared Rojo got the second quarter off to a spectacular start with a three-pointer that tied up the score, followed by three consecutive baskets by Sutkus that pushed Middle Park temporarily into the lead. But Colorado Academy came roaring back with a succession of unanswered baskets to end the first half holding a 41-35 lead.

“Colorado Academy shot the lights out of us in the first half, but somehow we stayed with them. It was a real battle,” Reynolds said.

As the third quarter began, it looked like Middle Park might have a real fighting chance as Sutton scored two quick baskets to narrow the scoring gap to two points. However, the Mustangs then put their offense into high gear and steadily pulled away, racking up basket after basket to take a 16-point lead.

In the fourth quarter, Colorado Academy kept up their attack on Middle Park’s basket, pushing their lead to 21 points. But the Panthers refused to give up and reduced to points spread with baskets by Sutton, Rojo, Damon and Schmidt.

“In the second half, we got tired and started fouling,” Reynolds said. “Colorado Academy is a very good team, but I hate to see us give up 84 points to anyone. We need to tighten up our defense and that’s what our focus is going to be in our next games.”

Sutton had another outstanding game earning 27 points, followed by Sutkus with 17 and Damon with 10. Sutton and Damon posted eight rebounds apiece.

Coach Reynolds commended Justin Cisneros’ playing during the game.

“Justin was our little sparkplug, who was always coming up with a steal or rebound that kept us in the game,” he said.

Another positive stat from the game was that Middle Park allowed only one steal.

“Our average for a game is eight to 10, so this is a big deal,” Reynolds said.

One final positive note from Thursday’s game, Reynolds said, was the strong support shown by the Panther fans.

“The fans were awesome and kept cheering for us even when we were taking a drubbing,” he said. “We’re also hoping to see Colorado Academy in the post-season play where I’m sure we’ll be making a much better showing for our fans.”

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