Kremmling " West Grand girls nearly pull off comeback upset in Rangely |

Kremmling " West Grand girls nearly pull off comeback upset in Rangely

The Lady Mustangs put an end to a long losing streak against the North Park Wildcats, 45-39, on Tuesday, Jan. 20.

Then they almost grabbed an important league win against the Rangely Panthers, 44-37, on Saturday.

“We were so close to getting over the hump against Rangely,” coach Larry Banman said. “We had the ball and a chance to tie the score midway through the fourth quarter.”

The Panthers were able to stop the Mustangs on that possession and then scored to quickly to get it back to a two-possession game.

The game started somewhat slowly as the two teams engaged in a defensive battle, with Rangely leading after one frame, 11-6. “We had some chances early and we turned the ball over a few too many times to take advantage of our defensive stops,” Banman noted.

Second chance points also hurt West Grand as Victoria Phelan and Marie Morton were able to capitalize on several offensive rebounds for the Rangely.

In the second quarter, the Panthers were able to build on their lead as they outscored West Grand, 13-11, and take a 24-17 lead into the locker room. In the third quarter, the Mustangs chipped away at the lead as Brook Cecil scored eight of her game high 15 points. Melissa Kraker, Rose Hargadine and Taylor Pesch also scored two points apiece in the rally.

“Even though we allowed a basket at the end of the quarter and dropped back down by four points, I felt good about our chances in the fourth,” Banman added.

It wasn’t to be, though, as the Panthers were able to pull away to the final margin.

In addition to Cecil’s 15 points, Hargadine and Rebecca Roller each added six points and Renea Ellison scored four points.

The leading rebounder in the game for the Mustangs was Hargadine with eight. She also led the team in blocks with four.

In the game against North Park, the Wildcats raced to a nine-point lead in the first quarter as each team opened up their offense. The Lady Mustangs were able to chip away at the lead and close the gap to 19-13 at the end of the first quarter.

“We didn’t open up well on defense,” coach Banman said. “Plus, they hit almost every shot they took. I was happy that we maintained our composure throughout that run.”

For the remainder of the game, the Lady Mustangs clamped down on defense and allowed a total of 20 points over the last three quarters.

West Grand scored 10 points in the second quarter and almost pulled even at halftime. The two teams battled to a stalemate in the third quarter, setting up the final frame with the score tied at 31.

The Mustangs last defeated North Park in basketball in 2001. The fourth quarter was set up to be an epic battle in Walden and it didn’t disappoint.

The Mustangs quickly took the advantage, scoring against the pressure defense of the Wildcats. Cecil scored eight of her game-high 10 points in the fourth frame and Roller added six points on plays in the post.

Several of their chances were on layups when teammates found them with passes on back door cuts. The Mustangs were able to build a 9-point lead with about three minutes to play.

At that point, North Park started one of their patented comeback efforts. Hilary Rizor scored four points and Pantle nailed a three-pointer as the Wildcats got to within four points. The Mustangs then converted on one more freethrow attempt and were able to stave off the comeback.

After Saturday’s loss to Rangely, the Lady Mustangs have an overall record of 8-5 and a Western Slope League mark of 2-3.

In the upcoming week, the Mustangs are on the road again at Meeker on Friday for another important Western Slope League game.

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