Lady Mustangs edge Middle Park, fall to Meeker in High Country Invitational |

Lady Mustangs edge Middle Park, fall to Meeker in High Country Invitational

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

The West Grand Mustangs fell to the Meeker Cowboys, 70-38, in the second round of the Mountain Parks Electric 2007 4th Annual High Country Invitational Basketball Tournament during the weekend in Granby.

That loss came after the Lady Mustangs defeated Middle Park, 38-24, in the first night of action last Thursday. On Saturday, the junior varsity squads for West Grand and Middle Park squared off, and the Lady Panthers held on for a 37-26 win.

Against the Cowboys, West Grand ran into a juggernaut from Meeker that featured four players who scored 10 or more points. Marci Cook led the way with 17 points, including nine for 10 from the free throw line.

Brook Cecil scored 10 to lead the Mustangs, while Jessica Elliott scored eight points and Renea Ellison added seven to the total.

West Grand’s coach Larry Banman noted that the Cowboys have played nine games prior to the break and they looked like a polished machine.

“They do an outstanding job of playing to their strengths,” Banman said. “They are very well coached and they execute their game plan well.”

The Lady Mustangs fell behind early and then posted a second-quarter rally that saw the deficit cut to eight points. “We worked hard in the second quarter on both offense and defense,” Banman said. “We were able to solve their zone press and slow down their offense.”

Unfortunately for the Mustangs, Meeker came out in the second half with a more aggressive man-to-man press and some hot shooting. The third quarter 15-7 advantage by the Cowboys sealed the fate of the Mustangs.

Coach Banman said the game was a good learning experience and helped reveal what the first-year head coach hopes to emphasize in the next couple of weeks.

The tournament started on a high note with the victory over the Lady Panthers. West Grand junior center Rose Hargadine had an outstanding game with 15 points, 12 rebounds and eight blocked shots. Cecil scored 13 points and Rebecca Roller chipped in with four. As a team, the Mustangs were six for 10 from the charity stripe.

“That was our best team effort of the year,” Banman said. “We were unselfish with the ball and we did a better job of communicating on defense.

“Rose (Hargadine) really stepped up her game in this contest. That was the best job of rebounding she has done this year,” Banman added.

On Saturday, the Middle Park and West Grand junior varsity squads squared off for the second time this season. The Panthers of Middle Park raced to a 17-8 halftime lead, before the Mustangs made a game of it in the third and start of the fourth quarters. At one point, West Grand cut the lead to six points and had possession of the ball. The Lady Panthers were able to hold off the rally, however, and pull away to the final margin of victory.

Stephanie Stubbs, a senior in her first year of high school experience, led the Mustangs with 13 points. Maddie Roller scored six points and Alyse Billington added three, all from the free throw line.

Quincy Petersen had an outstanding game for Middle Park and was the game’s high scorer with 15 points.

In a quick assessment of the first part of the season, coach Banman said the Lady Mustangs have been working extremely hard to learn a new system.

“We have been bit by the injury bug a bit and the break will be a good time for wounds to heal and for some of the players to recover from illness,” he noted. “I am looking forward to working the rest of the year with the team. They have been outstanding with their work ethic and their attitude.”

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