Kremmling " W. Grand girls play hard but drop two games over weekend |

Kremmling " W. Grand girls play hard but drop two games over weekend

Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi Daily News
ALL | Sky-Hi Daily News

The Lady Mustangs of West Grand High School faced two league opponents during the weekend and came up short in both hard-fought games.

On Friday, the Mustangs lost to Hayden, 62-39, and then on Friday to North Park, 45-35. The game against Hayden will count in league standings, while the loss to North Park will not be used to establish district tournament seeding.

The Hayden game was played on the road and it was a very physical contest. The Tigers were able to wear down the Mustangs, particularly in the second half. There were a total of 39 fouls called and Hayden shot 34 free throws, to only 21 for West Grand. The Tigers were also very accurate from the charity stripe, converting on 62 percent of their opportunities.

Hayden jumped to a 12-6 lead at the end of the first quarter as the Mustangs squandered a few fast-break opportunities. The second quarter was fast-paced as the teams combining for 38 points. It was Hayden that had the advantage as they rode six points from sophomore Rachael Koehler and two three-pointers from Kylee Sweetser to take a 34-22 lead at the end of the second frame of action.

For West Grand, Brook Cecil scored 10 points in the second quarter, including six of eight from the free throw line.

In the third quarter, the Mustangs were able to shut down Sweetser and Koehler, but junior Holli Salazar picked up the slack with eight points of her own. In addition, the Tigers were able to increase their lead to 47-31.

It was in the final frame where the physical play took its ultimate toll on the Mustang girls. Hayden was able to put 15 points on the board, while West Grand scored eight to account for the final 62-39 tally.

“It was a tough, tough game,” coach Larry Banman said. “We battled hard, but Hayden has a lot of players they throw at you. They contest every shot, every rebound and every pass and hope to wear you out or cause you to make mistakes.

They are well-coached, and they follow their game plan very well.”

Cecil led the Mustangs in points with 16 and in rebounds with eight, while Rose Hargardine snared seven. Renea Ellison had four assists for the Mustangs and Angie O’Neill had four offensive rebounds for West Grand.

Jessica Elliott had 12 points for West Grand, while Stephanie Stubbs was the next high scorer with three points. Stubbs also led the team in steals with four.

Salazar scored 19 points to lead the Tigers, with Sweetser adding 12 points and Koehler chipping in with 11 for the winning Tigers.

On Saturday, West Grand faced traditional rival North Park in a home contest. The Mustangs put up a valiant effort and played even in the second half.

North Park ground out a 25-15 lead by the halftime and held on in the

second as both teams scored 20 points. The Mustangs cut the lead to

five points in the middle of the third period, when Hargadine scored on a drive in the middle. The junior center was fouled on the play and she converted the freethrow for the old-fashioned three point play.

The Wildcats were able to take the steam out of the rally, however, when they hit a desperation three-pointer at the end of the third quarter.

“This was a well-played game against a well-coached team,” coach Banman said. “I have always enjoyed watching the Wildcats play because coach (Randy) Hodgson does a great job of utilizing the players he has. It was kind of a thrill to be coaching in the same game with him.”

Cecil again led the team in scoring with 15 points, while Elliott scored eight points and Hargadine chipped in with seven of her own.

Kaitlyn Hanson led the Wildcats in scoring with 16 points, including two three-pointers. Renee and Darlene Gonzales combined for five three points as they scored 15 points between them. Kelsey Souza had eight, all in the second half when she had some important rebounds.

Ellison had eight rebounds, all on the defensive boards to lead the Mustangs in that category. Hargadine had seven boards and O’Neill had three offensive rebounds to lead the team on the offensive glass.

Ellison led the team in assists with six and in steals with two.

Hargadine had five blocks to lead West Grand in that category.

“I applaud the girls for their effort this weekend,” Banman said. “It was a tough back-to-back couple of games, but the effort was outstanding. I also thought we played a little smarter on Saturday.”

It doesn’t get any easier for the Lady Mustangs this week, as they travel the long road to Meeker on Saturday to face the Cowboys at home.

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