Kremmling " Mustangs split pair of games in home invitational
Sky-Hi Daily News
The season for the West Grand High School boys basketball team started with a split at the West Grand Invitational on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 5-6, in Kremmling, Colorado.
The Mustangs opened the tournament with a 43-41 victory over Eagle Valley on Friday night. The Class 4A Demons sent their junior varsity squad to play in the tournament.
In the other first-round match, the Soroco Rams defeated the Clear Creek Golddiggers.
On Saturday, West Grand and Soroco battled in the feature game and the Mustangs came up on the short end of a 51-30 score.
“We missed a number of easy baskets in the first half,” coach Leo Pesch said. “We don’t have the luxury of not taking advantage of those types of easy opportunities.”
The Mustangs were down by 11 points at the end of the first half, Pesch said. “If we had converted several of those opportunities we may have been able to keep the score closer throughout the second half.”
The Rams pulled away to a 21-point lead in the second half before the Mustangs hit four three-pointers in a row to reduce the Soroco lead to nine points. The Rams steadied the ship and were able to pull away to the final margin of victory.
Leading the team in scoring for West Grand was Tim Ritschard with 11 points. Connor Widener scored 10 points while Fletcher Flanigan added six points and Travis Gore had five points.
The high scorer for Soroco was Ryan Tibbits, who scored 29 points, while Cody Miles added 13 points to the winning total for the Rams.
“Soroco is a tough team,” Pesch said, “and it was a good test for our young team. We will look to take lessons learned today to make ourselves better.”
On Friday, Eagle Valley had a chance to win the game on a late three-pointer but the shot from the field failed to find its mark.
Leading the way in scoring for the Mustangs were Widener and Ritschard with 10 points apiece and Gore with nine points. Senior Sky Handyside added seven to the winning total for West Grand.
The Mustangs are a young team this season. Handyside and juniors Flanigan and Stetson Sabados were the only scorers who aren’t sophomores and freshman.
Ritschard, Widener and Luke Miller are sophomores, while Gore is a freshman. The other player who had significant playing time for coach Pesch was senior Drew Klotz.
“We are obviously going to have some growing pains,” Pesch noted, “but I can’t ask for a group of kids that works harder in practice and wants to improve.”
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