Kremmling " Mustangs bounce back with win over DeBeque |

Kremmling " Mustangs bounce back with win over DeBeque

Larry Banman
Sky-Hi Daily News
Kremmling, Colorado
Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi Daily News
Sky-Hi Daily News | Sky-Hi Daily News

Kremmling ” The West Grand High School boys basketball team overcame a gutsy performance by an outmanned DeBeque team on Saturday to win its first league game of the season, 41-33.

Sky Handyside of West Grand hit a key three-pointer in the fourth quarter to give the Mustangs a six-point lead and stop the second-half rally by the Dragons of DeBeque. Fletcher Flanigan hit three of four free throws in the final frame and Travis Gore hit two buckets on drives to the hoop.

The game on Saturday followed a hard fought contest on Friday night when the Mustangs put a scare into the Hayden Tigers before falling in that contest 59-53. In the Hayden game, Flanigan led the Mustangs in scoring with 16 points, including nine points on three-point shots.

Both games were league contests, so the Mustangs started the all-important league portion of the schedule with a 1-1 record.

On Saturday, the Mustangs pulled off the victory after the emotional game played on Friday against Hayden. West Grand came out of the gate strong, outscoring DeBeque, 14-5, with six players getting in the scoring column.

Matt Johnson scored four of his game-high 10 points while Gore, Tim Ritschard, Flanigan, Stetson Sabados and Drew Klotz all scored two points.

In the second frame, Johnson scored another four points, Gore hit a three-pointer and Luke Miller got in the scoring column as the Mustangs built a 23-11 halftime lead.

Coming out of the break, DeBeque did a good job of getting to the free throw line and converting on those opportunities. The Dragons made nine of their 10 freethrows in the third quarter. Brandon Berner converted all six of his chances as DeBeque outscored West Grand in the frame 11-6 and cut the Mustang lead to 29-22.

After the Dragons were able to cut that lead to three-points, Handyside hit his three-pointer from the corner and West Grand held its advantage to the end of the game.

“It was good to get the league win,” coach Leo Pesch said. “After getting home late after the Friday game, I was pleased that we were able to get this victory.”

Against the Tigers, the Mustangs dug themselves a pretty deep whole, getting behind 18-3 after the first quarter.

Pesch’s charges dug in, however, and slowly worked themselves back in the game. Seven three-pointers in the game certainly helped. In addition to Flanigan’s three bombs, Connor Widener, Gore, Handyside and Ryan Smith all hit three-pointers. The Mustangs outscored Hayden, 34-24 in the middle two frames and the Tigers were able to outscore West Grand, 17-16, in the final frame.

The Tigers shot 15 free throws in the last quarter, converting on nine of those opportunities. The Mustangs hit four three-pointers, adding to the excitement of the tight contest.

“We had a couple of wasted opportunities late in the game,” Pesch said, “but I was very proud of the way the boys responded and fought back to make the game close.”

The junior varsity team, coached by Ryan Eastin, won its contest, providing the only win of the evening for the traveling Mustangs.

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