Kremmling " Rangely victory ends season for West Grand boys
Sky-Hi Daily News
The West Grand Mustangs boys basketball team used torrid shooting in the third quarter and the beginning of the fourth quarter to cut a 14-point halftime deficit in half, before dropping a 67-49 contest to the Rangely Panthers.
The Mustangs traveled to Rangely for the first round of the district playoffs. Coach Leo Pesch said the team had a good week of practice and played well.
But early foul trouble plagued the Mustangs, and Rangely was able to sink nine of 17 freethrows. By contrast the Mustangs had only three trips to the charity stripe, making one of those attempts.
The Mustangs were led in scoring by seniors Marshall Kraker, who scored 14, Cory Davis who recorded 12 points and Mackenzie Widener who had 10 points. That trio has consistently led the Mustangs in scoring throughout the season.
The second quarter proved to be the downfall for West Grand, however, as Rangely outscored the Mustangs, 19-8, to take a 34-20 halftime lead. Davis had a pair of three-pointers in the frame.
After the halftime break, the Mustangs responded with what Pesch said was the team’s best play of the season. In a real display of team scoring, Widener, Sky Handyside, Kraker, Tim Ritschard, Davis and Connor Widener all scored in the third frame.
Going into the fourth quarter of play, Rangely’s lead had been cut to nine points.
In the fourth quarter, Handyside fouled out of the game and, coach Pesch said, the comeback lost its momentum. In garbage time, the Panthers were able to stretch the lead to the final difference of 18 points.
The Panthers received balanced scoring from Phelan (18 points), Willis (15), Morton (12) and Harvey with 11 points.
Coach Pesch said the Mustangs were also hurt by turnovers.
Unofficially, West Grand committed 27 miscues for the game.
The veteran coach for West Grand was quick to note that the Mustangs finished strong. Pesch said he is very pleased with the four seniors who made the trip to Rangely. Rory Menhennett, Davis, Kraker and Mackenzie Widener all started the game and gave another outstanding effort, said Pesch.
Kraker is a four-year participant of the basketball program at West Grand. Widener and Davis transferred in as sophomores and Menhennett has been playing with the Mustangs for the past two years.
Also appearing in the district playoff game were Ryan Smith, Fletcher Flanigan, Drew Klotz, Stetson Sabados and Luke Miller.
With an eye toward the future, Pesch said he wanted to remind the returning players to work on their games in the offseason. “Teams are made in the fall,” Pesch said. “But players are made in the summer.”
Coach Pesch also had praise for his assistant coaches, Ryan Eastin and Tim Ritschard. “My coaches really help me during the season and I can’t say enough about how hard they work and how supportive they have been,” Pesch added.
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Local commercial rafting companies remain unsure if or for how long they’ll be able to guide trips this summer down the traditional 6-mile portion of the Blue River north of Silverthorne.