W. Grand teams round into form for postseason action
Sky-Hi News sports correspondent
Grand County CO Colorado
West Grand wrestlers will be the first to enter postseason competition as they head to Grand Junction Central High School for the regional tournament this weekend.
The boys basketball team won one of three games last week, but it was an important league victory over SoRoCo. The Mustangs are vying for home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. The girls team went 0-3 in its contests.
The Lady Mustangs had a tough week, playing opponents on the road in Eagle Valley and Paonia and then losing to a SoRoCo team that was clicking on all cylinders.
In the SoRoCo game, early foul trouble caused Coach Sara Mortensen to change her defense. The Mustangs played well during the first and fourth quarters, but were undone by the middle two frames. Hannah Howell led the way with 17 points, including 13 in the final frame. Kaitlyn Adams scored 6 points, Laura Billington and Anna Cunico each had 5 points while Kristina Ekren and Chyenne Sims chipped in with 4 points apiece.
“We did some good things on offense,” Mortensen, “and we are really looking forward to when we put it all together.
Against Paonia, the Lady Mustangs played hard for 4 quarters against the perennial powerhouse Eagles coached by Scott Rienks. Sims led with 8 points, while Howell scored 5 points and Shea O’Hotto chimed in with 4 points.
The boys basketball team battled through a little adversity last week, losing big to Eagle Valley on the road, but rebounding with a nice effort against Paonia on the road and then securing a convincing victory over SoRoCo at home.
In the 79-34 loss to Eagle Valley, Zach Ahrens led the way with 12 points, while Evan Petras added 8 points and Leo Pesch chipped in with 5 points.
In a league game against Paonia, West Grand jumped to a 21-14 lead, lost the lead in the middle 2 frames and then came roaring back in the fourth quarter. The Mustangs had the lead with just over a minute to play, but saw Paonia nail an important shot from the top of the key to take the lead. West Grand was unable to convert on the offensive end and a Paonia player slipped behind the press to score a basket to secure the final score of 59-56. A long shot from Nick Ritschard as the buzzer was just short of its mark.
Petras and Pesch led the team in scoring with 16 and 11 points respectively. Ahrens led the team in rebounds with 11 and added 10 points to the effort. Petras had eight rebounds and grabbed seven caroms. Ritschard led the team with five assists while Petras led the team in steals with three.
Ahrens had one of his finer efforts of the year against SoRoCo as he scored 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the victory that threatened to be a blowout midway through the fourth quarter.
In the 61-48 victory, Pesch added 9 points while Ritschard added 8 to the cause, Dillon Willson scored 7 points, including two back-breaking 3-pointers, and Reno Davidson scored 6 points.
The victory over SoRoCo was important because it added to the league victories West Grand has secured over Vail Christian, Rangely and DeBeque. With a 3-2 league mark, the Mustangs now face an important stretch of games, starting with road games over Vail Mountain this Friday and Hayden on Saturday. The following week West Grand hosts North Park and Meeker.
In this year’s postseason playoff structure, the top 2A team in the league secures a first round bye, while the remaining six Class 2A play each other in a pigtail round on Tuesday, Feb. 21. The winners of those three games, which will be hosted by the teams that finish second, third and fourth, will join the top team in the district tournament on Feb. 24-25. This year that tournament is hosted by West Grand. With a 6-0 mark at home this year, getting to the final rounds of the district tournament could be a huge boost for the Mustangs and their post season aspirations.
The West Grand grapplers faced tough competition this past Saturday in Meeker as they prepared for the regional tournament at Grand Junction Central High School.
The grapplers had not yet been seeded for the regional tournament by press time, but Coach Matney anticipated that Austin Faeth and Daniel Terwilliger had the best chance to be ranked in the top five in their weight classifications. The tournament starts on Friday and continues through Saturday as the top four wrestlers in each weight class are determined. Under the current format, if a wrestler finishes the tournament in fifth place but didn’t face the fourth place finisher during the tournament, that fifth place finisher has the opportunity to face the fourth place finisher. The winner of that match qualifies for the state tournament, which is held in Denver the following weekend.
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The Mustangs cross country team trudged through a muddy 5K Saturday morning during the West Grand Invitational, a race that slowed times but sent the fun factor through the roof for many of its competitors.