West Grand boys beat SoRoCo in OT thriller | SkyHiNews.com

West Grand boys beat SoRoCo in OT thriller

by Larry Banman
Grand County, CO Colorado

In an overtime thriller on Saturday night, the West Grand Mustangs boys basketball defeated SoRoCo, 77-73, to improve its league record to 5-3.

The Lady Mustangs played one of their finest games of the year against SoRoCo, but fell to the visiting Rams, 55-47.

Both teams fell on the road in Hayden on Friday night. The boys lost to the powerhouse Tigers, 71-52, while the girls fell to the improving squad from Hayden, 51-36.

The wrestling squad from West Grand traveled to Saratoga, Wyo, where Cole Tracy, Scott Smith and Stephen Terrazas compiled a record of 1-6 in a tough tournament north of the border.

The wrestlers are preparing this week for the regional tournament in Grand Junction.

Boy Basketball

SoRoCo and West Grand have been rivals for decades and the competition on Saturday night was as fierce as anticipated. The squads went toe-to-toe for the entire game, tied at the end of the first, second and fourth quarters. The Mustangs struggled all night from the free-throw line but finally converted on seven attempts to slowly salt the game away.

In the third quarter, the Rams were leading by six points with less than 15 seconds to play when Dillon Willson converted on two three-pointers to bring the Mustangs back into the game.

On the first basket, Leo Pesch mad a nice bounce-pass to Willson who sank a three-pointer from the wing. Reno Davidson stole the inbounds pass from SoRoCo and found Willson at almost the exact spot of his previous shot. There didn’t appear to be enough time for Willson to pull the trigger but the junior displayed a nice awareness of time when he caught the pass and shot in one smooth motion. When the ball settled in the bottom of the net, the home crowed erupted.

When the game went into overtime, Jacob Irwin controlled the tip and the Mustangs were able to score first when Casey Gore made a short jump shot. Nick Ritschard played well in the overtime period and was able to draw fouls on two key Ram players, Ryan Jeep and Matt Regan. It was the fifth and final foul for both of those players. Ritschard was fouled while making layups on both of those plays and he converted one of the two free throws he was awarded.

It was a balanced scoring attack for the Mustangs as Ritschard, Willson and Gore all had 17 points. Leo Pesch, who battled foul trouble most of the game, scored 14 points. For the night, Willson converted on five of eight three-pointers and Gore made two from behind the arc.

Pesch led the team in assists with four while Ritschard was the leading rebounder with six caroms grabbed.

The previous night against the Hayden Tigers, it was a different story as the Mustangs fell to Hayden, 71-52. The Tigers are leading the league and have withstood every league test. West Grand hung tough for awhile, but Hayden outscored West Grand, 23-14, in the second quarter to create a lead it would never relinquish.

Gore led the team with 18 points and Ritschard scored 16 points. Ritschard led the team in rebounds with six and Javier Castillo grabbed four in the game.

The Mustangs host Vail Mountain on Friday night and travel to Vail Christian on Saturday. The regular season ends the next Friday night with a game versus North Park in Walden.

Girls Basketball

The girls played an aggressive defense against SoRoCo and attacked the basket on offense. The result was a spirited effort against a well-coached squad from Oak Creek.

Kaitlyn Adams played a strong game, despite struggling with back pain. The senior scored 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead the team in those categories. Fellow senior Kristina Ekren also played a strong game, particularly on defense, as the two girls played their last high school basketball game on the home floor for West Grand.

The Lady Mustangs led after one quarter, 17-16, as Anna Cunico led the team with seven points, including five from the free throw line.

As the game wore on, however, the fast and physical play started to wear down the Mustangs and the Rams gained the advantage, leading 30-27 at halftime.

It appeared the game was all but over in the fourth quarter when West Grand mounted a spirited comeback. Led by Kaitlyn Adams, who scored 11 points in the final four minutes of the quarter, the Lady Mustangs pulled to within four points before the Rams converted its chances from the freethrow line and prevailed.

Cunico added nine points to the total for West Grand, while Sarah Vance scored eight points and Skylar LePage scored five for the home team.

Against the Tigers at Hayden, Cunico scored 12 points to lead the Mustangs, while LePage scored 11 and Payton Coleman added seven points. Coleman also led the team in rebounds, with 12.

The Lady Mustangs play in Vail Christian this Saturday and complete their season the following Friday night in Walden against North Park.

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