Kremmling " Lady Mustangs corral two league wins
Fans of Mustang basketball were treated to two league wins last weekend as the West Grand High School girls basketball team defeated Soroco 56-50 and Plateau Valley in overtime 48-45.
Both games were physical and the Mustangs shot a total of 69 freethrows in the two games, including 21 in the fourth quarter against the Rams from Soroco.
Plateau Valley and Soroco shot a combined total of 32 from the charity stripe.
“Generally speaking,” coach Larry Banman said, “the team that shoots the most freethrows is the team that is in better position and is a step ahead of the other team.”
West Grand made 49 percent of its free throws but converted four of
six in the overtime contest against the Cowboys of Plateau Valley. Included were two dramatic freethrows from West Grand’s Rose Hargadine.
With the game tied, the senior post player grabbed an offensive rebound with just over a minute to play in overtime and was fouled hard, falling to the ground and hitting the back of her head in the midst of a heap of players.
After laying on the floor for several minutes and then gathering her senses during a timeout, she was sent to the freethrow line by Banman.
“I had the option of substituting a player for her to shoot the freethrows. She was in pain, but her eyes were clear. I asked if she wanted to shoot the freethrows and she never hesitated to assure me that she wanted to be on the line,” Banman said. “In a game of this magnitude, I knew she would rise to the occasion.”
In the parlance of the day, her freethrows hit nothing but net.
After getting a steal on the other end, West Grand’s Rebecca Roller was fouled; she made one of two freethrows and the Mustangs had a three-point lead.
That forced Plateau Valley to attempt a three-point shot to tie the game. With four seconds left, the Mustangs went into a man-to-man defense, knowing the Cowboys would try to set up a shot for their top player, Zauri Kromarek.
West Grand’s Renea Ellison was assigned the task of guarding her and did the job so well that Kromarek was unable to touch the ball. The Cowboys ended up throwing the ball out of bounds with a second to
play, and the game was in the bag for the Mustangs.
“I can’t say enough about the whole team tonight,” coach Banman said.
“Each and every player did exactly what was asked of her. I am very proud of all of them. The seniors (Hargadine, Ellison and Roller) really demonstrated their toughness tonight.”
The game was marred by a potentially season-ending injury to sophomore point guard Taylor Pesch. She and a Plateau Valley player jumped for a pass on a fast break and Pesch came down awkwardly, injuring her right knee.
Brook Cecil led the Mustangs in scoring with 14 points, while Ellison and Hargadine scored nine apiece and Roller had eight in the winning effort. Erin Beason scored four and Pesch scored three before her injury.
For the Cowboys, Kromarek scored 19 points and Nicole Lashus added 10 to the cause.
The game against Soroco came down to freethrows. The strategy of the
Rams appeared to be to not allow any easy shots and make the Mustangs win the game on the freethrow line.
“We converted just enough to win the game,” Banman said. “If we had been a little more consistent, the game would have never been in doubt. However, the girls converted enough to secure the league win.”
Cecil again led the team in scoring, this time with 17 points. Hargadine and Roller scored 10 points apiece and Ellison added eight to the victory.
“Brook (Cecil) was tough tonight,” Banman said. “She was knocked to the ground repeatedly, but she kept getting up and back into the fray.”
West Grand improved its overall mark to 11-6 and 4-4 in Western Slope League play. The top three and bottom two places in the league have been secured and held by, Paonia (1), Hayden (2), Meeker (3), Soroco, (7) and Vail Christian (8).
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Winter Park Resort is hosting the annual Venture Out Fest all day Saturday, which will feature the grand opening of the North Face store at the base.