West Grand basketball: Lady Mustangs put up valiant effort against league powerhouse
It was an exciting weekend of basketball for the Lady Mustangs of West Grand High School as they defeated Vail Christian on Friday night, 40-16, and then lost to Paonia,
“The score against Paonia wasn’t indicative of how close that contest really was,” Coach Larry Banman said. “Paonia is one of the top teams in the state and, in a lot of ways, we slugged it out with them for the entire game.
“It was a very intense and physical game and we had a short lapse in the second-quarter when that pressure bothered us,” Banman added.
It was defensive battle in the first quarter as the teams ended the first frame with Paonia leading, 7-5.
“Paonia changed its press in the second quarter and I was slow in adjusting to their adjustment,” Coach Banman said. “I take full responsibility for that mistake.”
Despite some quick points by Paonia, the Eagles only outscored West Grand, 17-12, and led at the break, 24-17. In the third quarter, Paonia increased their margin by another four points and led going into the final period, 39-28.
“I thought we ran the ball much better in the third quarter and we caused them to take off their press,” Banman said. “That is a small victory in itself, because they really pride themselves on being able to apply defensive pressure.”
Brook Cecil led the team in scoring with 11 points, Renea Ellison added seven and Sam Tracy chipped in with six points.
Freshman Hannah Howell led the team in rebounds with seven and Ellison had four boards. In limited action, Rose Hargadine led the team in blocked shots with six.
“I continue to be impressed with the intensity with which these girls play,” Coach Banman said. “I thought Renea (Ellison) played her most complete game of the season. I ask her to do a lot on defense and on offense and she has responded very well. Rose (Hargadine) battled a stomach virus all night and she wasn’t anywhere near 100 percent.
Obviously, that takes a lot away from our plan of attack.”
Jami Reed scored 13 points to lead the Eagles in scoring and Shelby Campbell added nine points. Paonia scoring leaders Brittani Venard and Jordyn Rienks combined for only eight points.
“We did a great job of battling with their post players,” Banman said. “However, we let them get too many points from the perimeter.”
The game on Saturday followed a great defensive effort on Friday night against Vail Christian in which the Mustangs held the Saints to 16 total points.
Hargadine reached double figures in blocked shots with 12. Any forays into the lane were met with rejection from the senior post player.
“The Saints do a great job of slowing the pace of the game,” Banman said. “We pressed them throughout the game to help create some more speed in the game and cause some turnovers. I thought our players responded very well in accomplishing both of those tasks.”
Cecil led the team in scoring with 16 points, while Melissa Kraker scored seven points and Rebecca Roller chipped in with five points.
In the upcoming week, the Mustangs travel to Walden on Tuesday to play half of a junior varsity contest and then a varsity game. The junior varsity portion of the evening is slated for a 4:30 p.m. start. The varsity game will commence after the conclusion of that game. On Saturday, the Mustangs travel to Meeker for an important league contest against the Cowboys.
West Grand has a 2-2 record in the Western Slope League and an overall mark of 7-4.
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