Kremmling " Lady Mustangs start season with pair of wins
Kremmling, Colorado ” The season for the West Grand High School girls basketball team started on a high note as the Lady Mustangs defeated the Eagle Valley High School junior varsity and Soroco on successive nights.
The occasion was the West Grand High School Invitational Tournament on Friday and Saturday, dec. 5-6, in Kremmling. The tournament featured both junior varsity and varsity action.
West Grand defeated the Eagle Valley squad on Friday, 53-42, with seven players contributing in the scoring column. Brook Cecil led the way with 27 points, including nine of nine from the charity stripe.
The Lady Mustangs were missing varsity players Rose Hargadine, Erin Beason and Jessica Raecke who were competing in a dance competition in Denver. As a result, the team depended heavily on the contributions of three freshman, Chyenne Sims, Samantha Tracy and Hannah Howell.
Coach Joe Shields handled the game duties as head coach Larry Banman had out-of-town obligations. Coach Shields said he was pleased with how hard the team played.
“We passed the ball fairly well and we worked hard on defense,” Shields said. “There are several things we need to work on, but I was pleased with a number of things I saw in the game.”
In addition to the 27 points scored by Cecil, Howell scored seven points while Tracy added five to the winning total.
As a team, the Mustangs were 13 of 19 from the charity stripe.
Eagle Valley jumped to an 11-8 advantage after the first quarter as Jazmine Rapato scored eight points. The Mustangs pulled to a one-point lead at halftime as Cecil, Pesch, Roller and Howell combined for 16 points.
West Grand outscored Eagle Valley 13-8 in the third frame and then sealed the contest with a 16-11 advantage in the final frame.
Coach Shields said that senior guard Renee Ellison did a good job of controlling the action late in the game. She and Pesch handled the majority of the ballhandling duties against a variety of defensive looks employed by the Eagle Valley squad.
On Saturday, West Grand faced a very physical squad from Soroco and prevailed, 47-27, as Cecil again led the way in scoring, this time with 25 points. The Mustangs shot 29 freethrows in the game while the Rams shot nine from the field. West Grand converted on 15 of those attempts.
“Soroco has a physical style of play,” Shields, “and we had to respond to that without losing our composure. I thought the girls did a pretty good job of maintaining their focus.”
In the Soroco game, nine different players scored, with Rebecca Roller scoring six points and Taylor Pesch adding four points. Also getting their names in the scoring column were Beason, Melissa Kraker, Renea Ellison, Hargadine, Raecke and Tracy.
The Mustangs jumped to an 18-8 first quarter lead by scoring 10 of the first 12 points of the game. Both teams scored eight points in the second quarter as West Grand held the 10-point advantage. It was a low-scoring third quarter with the Mustangs outscoring Soroco, 7-4.
The game was put away in the fourth quarter as West Grand scored 14 points to seven for the Rams.
“I was pleased that we were strong in the fourth quarter of both games this weekend,” Shields said. “That shows a commitment to compete for an entire game.”
In junior varsity action, the Mustangs defeated the Eagle Valley C-team on Friday before dropping a close game to Soroco on Saturday.
The Mustangs play Vail Christian on Friday night in a home contest and then travel to Fairplay to play South Park on Saturday.
The following week, West Grand will play three games in the Middle Park Invitational Tournament, which is scheduled for Dec. 18-20. That tournament will be played with a round-robin format, and the Mustangs will face varsity squads from Love Christian, Middle Park and Meeker.
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