West Grand net squads earn split at Middle Park tournament
Special to the Sky-Hi News
The West Grand High School basketball teams each split their two games at the Middle Park High School tournament last weekend and each ended the pre-Christmas portion of their schedules with a victory.
On the boys side of the equation, the Mustangs dropped a one-point contest to Middle Park on Friday night, 49-48, in a game where West Grand stayed close throughout but never was able to grab and/or sustain a lead.
The Panthers from Middle Park clawed to a one-point lead after one quarter, 9-8, and built that lead to 26-23 at halftime. West Grand cut that lead to two points after three quarters as Middle Park clung to a 39-37 lead and the two teams played the last quarter evenly.
The Mustangs had the ball and a shot at victory but were unable to come away with a win over their cross-county rivals.
Travis Gore led the team in scoring with 16 points while Leo Pesch scored nine points and Dillon Willson came off the bench to hit two three-pointers and notch six points.
On Saturday, a good portion of the firepower West Grand possesses came to bear as the Mustangs raced to a 72-26 victory over Platte Canyon. Ten West Grand players scored points in the victory as the Mustangs were able to run freely against the outgunned team from Platte Canyon.
Travis Gore led the team in scoring with 28 points and in rebounds with 16. Hunter Gasvoda scored 16 points as the interior game for the Mustangs was too much for Platte Canyon to handle. Zach Ahrens snared eight rebounds in a strong performance off of the Mustang bench.
Travis Gore, Nick Ritschard, Pesch and Willson were all perfect from the free throw line as they collectively hit all 14 of their attempts.
The Mustangs go into the holiday break with a 2-2 record. Coach Leo Pesch said he likes the potential of his team and is looking forward to a good season.
The hard work that the Lady Mustangs have been putting in on the practice court for Coach Sara Mortensen bore fruit on Saturday as they earned their first victory of the season over Platte Canyon, 51-35.
Team defense has been strong throughout the early weeks of the season and on Saturday, the team was able to put things together offensively for the win.
“It’s good to get our first win,” Coach Mortensen said. “I think this will boost the girls to practice hard the next few weeks.”
Chyenne Sims led the team in scoring with 14 points, while Bailey Amundson had eight points and Kaitlyn Adams and Courtney Matney scored seven apiece.
On Friday night, West Grand lost 46-23. Leading the scoring was Adams with five points, including a three-pointer right before the end of the first half.
“Even though we lost,” Mortensen said, “a lot of great things happened in that game. The big difference between both nights was that on Friday night we shot 18 percent and improved that to 40 percent on Saturday. We had over 30 turnovers on Friday and less than 20 on Saturday. If we can shoot 40 percent and keep our turnovers down, we will get wins.”
The junior varsity won both of its games, defeating Middle Park, 44-31, and beating Platte Canyon, 39-17. “I am very excited how these young girls are learning to run the floor and play with great intensity,” Coach Mortensen said.
“The girls are going to work hard over break,” Mortensen added, “and prepare for North Park when they get back from break.”
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