The West Grand boys basketball team earned a pair of impressive victories this past weekend, defeating Paonia, 61-51, and Hotchkiss, 47-43. The girls basketball squad ran into a couple of tough squads and lost to Paonia, 82-32, before rebounding a bit in a 65-38 loss to the Bulldogs of Hotckiss.
The Mustangs were able to even their league record at 2-2 with the two crucial victories. On Friday night, the Eagles of Paonia jumped to a 21-17 first quarter lead as both teams came out firing. West Grand gradually took over control of the game, winning the points battle in each of the final three frames. The Mustangs were particularly dominant in the fourth quarter as they outscored Paonia, 20-12, in closing out the victory.
Casey Gore had the hot hand in the game as he converted nine of 13 shots, including four of six from behind the three-point line. Even though he never made it to the freethrow line, he led the team in scoring with 22 points. Leo Pesch tallied 12 points, Nick Ritschard scored 10. Dillon Willson chipped in with eight points and Javier Castillo dropped in five for the Mustangs.
Ritschard led the team in rebounds with nine, in steals with five and in assists with five. Pesch, Castillo and Gore snared four rebounds apiece.
The game against Hotchkiss took a different path as the Mustangs built a 27-12 lead at halftime and then held on as the Bulldogs clawed their way back and cut the lead to two points in the fourth quarter. West Grand was able to prevail, however, as Hotchkiss was turned back in the final minutes.
Ritschard and Gore led the team in scoring with 13 points apiece, while Willson scored nine points and Pesch added six to the tally. Castillo led the team in rebounds with seven, while Willson had four steals to lead the team in that category.
The Mustangs played Middle Park High School on Tuesday night this week and will travel to Plateau Valley on Friday before hosting Vail Christian on Saturday.
The Paonia Eagles showed why they are a contender for the state championship as they applied relentless pressure and built a 52-20 first half lead and cruised to the victory. The Eagles are not imposing with their size, but they are fast, work hard in their pressure defense and have a very deep bench.
Kaitlin Adams led the Mustangs in scoring with 10 points, while Bailey Monahan scored seven and Sky LePage and Sarah Vance each scored four points.
On Saturday, the Mustangs played evenly with the Bulldogs for most of the game. There were two stretches that spelled the difference in the contest. In the first half, foul trouble put several starters on the bench and Hotckiss went on a 16-0 run. At the end of the game, Hotckiss had a 12-point advantage and the Mustangs were forced to foul and hope the Bulldogs would miss from the charity stripe. They didn't miss their free throws and the outcome was secured.
Adams led the team in scoring with 15 points and seven rebounds. Payton Coleman scored nine points and grabbed four rebounds, Kristina Ekren scored six points and and snared four caroms while Monahan scored four in the game.
The Lady Mustangs have an extremely busy week. They hosted Middle Park High School on Tuesday night and will host North Park on Thursday, travel to Plateau Valley on Friday and come home on Saturday to host Vail Christian.