Middle Park hoopsters lose wild one at Sheridan in final minutes
Sky-Hi Daily News
Middle Park High’s boys basketball team kicked off the new year with a non-conference away game that the Panthers lost 80-76 to Sheridan on Friday, Jan. 11.
“It was pretty close,” said coach Brian Reynolds. “I wish our defense has played a little better to prevent Sheridan from scoring so many points. But on the other hand, it was a very good basketball game. I’m sure Sheridan will be battling this season for their league’s title.”
The Panthers trailed Sheridan in every quarter. It was not until the fourth quarter that Middle Park tied the score at 73 points apiece with about 1-1/2 minutes remaining on the clock.
“Sheridan gave us opportunities to win it in the final 1 1/2 minutes,” Reynolds said. “They only shot two for four from the free throw line while we were three for four. We were just a couple of mental mistakes away from winning the game. Those mistakes were on defense, and that’s why we’re focusing on it this week in practice.”
While the game ended in a loss for Middle Park, the highlight of Friday’s away game was the spectacular scoring performance turned in by the Panthers’ Ian Sutton. He racked up an incredible 37 points, which was one point short of the school record set by Mike Landa two years ago in a double overtime game.
“Ian was pretty awesome from the free throw line where he was 21 for 25,” Reynolds said. “As a team, we shot 77 percent from the free throw line. Most of the time when you shoot that well, you win the game.”
In addition to Sutton’s outstanding performance, a couple of other Panthers got into double digits. Zilvinas Sutkus earned 15 points while teammate Jordan Reynolds made 11.
Sam Damon led the team in rebounding with six during Friday’s game. Mike Schmidt, Jordan Reynolds and Sutton earned five apiece, and Sutkus made two.
“It was a good, fast-paced game,” Reynolds said. “Sheridan sat in the zone to slow down our tempo, but we were still able to play the fast, uptempo type of game that we like.”
With the second half of their season now under way, the Panthers are missing a couple of key players.
“I’m afraid we’ve lost Zane Bickler for the rest of the season due to a shoulder problem,” Reynolds said. “His doctor is recommending that he rest the injury. The good thing is he will be back next season and able to play 100 percent. We’re also hoping that Kody Mourer, who injured his knee, will be able to return in a couple of weeks.
“In the meantime, we’ll be really relying on our younger guys to step up. Jared Rojo and Justin Cisneros, both juniors, got in some quality varsity time against Sheridan.”
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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.