Mustang basketball rebounds from losses to Middle Park
Sky-Hi News sports correspondent
A lot of basketball was played last week by the West Grand Mustangs and the boys and girls teams came through the contests with some disappointments as well as some bright spots. The boys followed a disappointing loss at home to Middle Park on Tuesday to overwhelm Plateau Valley and DeBeque in games played over the weekend.
The girls also rebounded from their own loss to the Panthers with a victory over North Park on Thursday. The girls then lost a close game to Plateau Valley and were defeated by Vail Christian on Saturday.
After losing to cross-county rival Middle Park, 57-50, in a hard-fought battle on Tuesday, the boys were looking for a game to get back on the winning track. The elixir was provided by both Plateau Valley and DeBeque as the Mustangs put a lot of points on the board on their way to victory totals of 85-59 and 78-40. In both games, the three-ball was a valuable weapon for West Grand.
In the game in Colbran against Plateau Valley, the Mustangs nailed 13 three-pointers, which was close to half of its total of 30 field goals.
Casey Gore led the long-distance assault as he made seven of 10 attemptsfrom behind the arc. Dillon Willson nailed four of his six attempts giving the pair a very healthy shooting percentage of nearly 70 percent from long distance. In addition to Gore’s 27 points, Nick Ritschard scored 16 points and Willson and Leo Pesch combined for 15 points apiece.
Jacob Erwin led the team in rebounds as he grabbed 10 caroms. Ritschard had eight rebounds and the team, as a unit, had a healthy 40 rebounds. Ritschard had four assists and Willson had three helpers to lead the team in that category. Ritschard added five steals to lead the team to another impressive figure of 21 steals.
Back home on Saturday, the Mustangs easily outdistanced DeBeque and Coach Leo Pesch emptied his bench to give numerous players an opportunity for varsity playing time. Ten players scored points for the Mustangs.
Gore and Ritschard led the way with 16 and 15 points respectively. Pesch tallied 10 points, Javier Castillo and Erwin each scored eight points, Jeremiah Elliott chipped in with six points and Aron Melendez and Reno Davidson each put in five ponts in the winning effort. Hitting shots from beyond the three-point arc were Ritschard, Pesch, Davidson, Gore and Rodrigo Cuevas.
Ritschard led the team in rebounds with nine while Davidson grabbed four boards and Elliott and Will Guess each snared three caroms. Gore had seven steals for the Mustangs as the team registered a total of 26 steals.
In looking back at the Middle Park game, Gore led the Mustangs in scoring with 18 points while Ritschard had 12 points and Leo Pesch added seven to the total. Ritschard snared an incredible 21 rebounds and had five steals to lead the team in both of those categories.
It was a physical game and the Panthers of Middle Park slowly increased their advantage throughout the game, leading the final margin of seven points. It was a game of scoring spurts as both teams were able to string together a few baskets and then watch as the other side countered with a similar flurry of points.
The game was played before nearly a packed house in Kremmling, proving again that games between the two Grand County teams are still good entertainment.
There are two weeks left in the regular season and the boys will travel to Hayden on Friday night before returning on Saturday to host SoRoCo. Both of those games count in the league standings which are used for seeding in the postseason.
In the Lady Mustangs game with Middle Park, the Panthers jumped to an early 20-13 lead at the end of the first quarter behind the scoring of Kelly Allen and Joanna Eaton. The game was basically even the rest of the way as the Panthers were only able to increase that seven-point advantage by two points. In fact, the Mustangs rallied a bit in the fourth quarter as they
outscored their county counterparts, 11-6.
Anna Cunico led the Mustangs in scoring with 14 points, including two three-pointers. Sarah Vance scored nine points while Kaitlyn Adams and Bailey Monnahan scored six and five points respectively.
Adams had eight rebounds while Payton Coleman grabbed seven caroms, Vance had six rebounds and Skylar LePage had five boards for the Mustangs.
For Middle Park, Eaton ended up with 23 points including nine from the charity stripe. Allen finished with 13 points for the visiting Panthers.
In the game with league rival North Park, the Mustangs held on for a 49-45 victory as Cunico led the charge with 25 points. The junior guard nailed five of seven three-pointers. Monnahan scored eight points while Vance added five points and Adams had four points in the victory.
Coleman led the team in rebounds with seven while Adams had six boards. The win increased the West Grand record to 5-8 for the season.
Against Plateau Valley, the girls were outscored in the third quarter and played evenly the remainder of the game. The teams battled to a 19-19 halftime time before the decisive third quarter put the Cowboys ahead, 33-26. Each team held serve in the final frame as they scored 12 points apiece on their way to the final score.
The girls traveled home to host Vail Christian on Saturday at the end of an exhausting week. The Lady Mustangs were unable to overcome the defense of Vail Christian and fell to the visitors.
In action this weekend, West Grand travels to Hayden on Friday night before hosting SoRoCo on Saturday. In games earlier this season the Mustangs defeated the Tigers but lost to the Rams.
Wrestling Battling illness, the Mustang grapplers didnt travel this past weekend. The team of Stephen Terrazas, Scotty Smith and Cole Tracy will travel to Saratoga, Wyoming this weekend for a two-day tournament. It is the last regular season action prior to the regional tournament held the following weekend in Grand Junction. The Mustangs are part of what is likely the toughest region in the state in its classification.
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