West Grand basketball got back in the groove this past weekend with a pair of games against league opponents, Hayden and SoRoCo. The games didn't stand in the league standings, but were precursors to games that will be played later against the same opponents and which will count in the league standings that determine postseason seeding.
In games played in Kremmling on Friday, the girls defeated the Tigers, 46-31, while the boys were beaten by a veteran and experienced team, 85-47. On Saturday, the girls lost to SoRoCo, 47-27, while the boys narrowly lost to the Rams in a thriller, 68-65.
The Lady Mustangs came out of the gate strong against Hayden, leading 10-2 after the first quarter. The Tigers made some adjustments and outscored West Grand to know the score at 14 points apiece at halftime. The Davin Boydstun coached Mustangs made some halftime adjustments of their own to outscore Hayden by two in the third frame and then walk away with a dominate fourth quarter. West Grand outscored Hayden, 22-9, in the fourth quarter.
"Hayden played great defense, shutting down the middle," Coach Boydstun said. "They took our post out of the game offensively.
Tenacious defense in the second half led to easy transition baskets. Anna (Cunico) shot well in the second half, more than doubling her season average. We ended up with 16 steals in the game, led by Anna, who had five steals."
Cunico led the team in scoring with 19 points, almost all from more than 10 feet for the basket. Kristina Ekren scored 10 points while Sarah Vance added eight points from her point guard position. Bailey Monnahan chipped in with five points.
Against SoRoCo, the offense failed to click, making it difficult for the Lady Mustangs to keep pace. The teams locked in a defensive struggle and the score was tied 17-17 in the third quarter. Foul trouble put West Grand in a hole and the Rams went on a 12-0 run that effectively sealed the game.
"Both teams played tough defense," Boydstun noted. "This was a game where our offense struggled. It's hard to win on those nights."
The Lady Mustangs have a tough stretch of games as they play Meeker, Rangely, Paonia and Hotchkiss in the next two weeks. Meeker, Rangely and Paonia have been league powerhouses over the past five years and Hotchkiss has moved down a classification this season.
The Mustangs of West Grand ran into a Hayden Tiger team that features solid outside shooting, enough size to battle on the boards and the speed required to execute an efficient fast break.
The boys of West Grand battled with them early and held their own late, but the consistent scoring throughout the game allowed the Tigers to prevail. The Tigers scored 25 points in the first quarter and 26 in the third and 17 points in both the second and fourth quarters.
In Saturday night's game in SoRoCo, the Mustangs came out strong, outscoring the Rams, 22-16 in the first quarter and took a 35-32 lead into the halftime locker room. The Rams outscored West Grand, 17-12 in the third quarter to take a two-point lead into the final frame.
The Rams and the Mustangs battled furiously in the final frame and had a shot at the buzzer to tie the game, but fell short in the comeback effort.
Like the girls team, the boys face a tough stretch that includes Meeker, Rangely, Paonia and Hotchkiss. The Meeker game is on the road this Friday, while the Rangely contest is at home.