MEEKER I The challenge of playing the same team twice in the regular season with only the second game counting toward league standings bit the Cowboys over the weekend. As with the week before against Paonia, the Rangely Panthers used big scoring efforts from Caleb Templeton (22) and Kody Denny (21) to take the rematch and the league game from their cross county rivals by a 70-58 score.
By dale dunbarSpecial to the Herald TimesMEEKER I The challenge of playing the same team twice in the regular season with only the second game counting toward league standings bit the Cowboys over the weekend. As with the week before against Paonia, the Rangely Panthers used big scoring efforts from Caleb Templeton (22) and Kody Denny (21) to take the rematch and the league game from their cross county rivals by a 70-58 score.The win propelled the Panthers into the third seed as the District 5 tournament begins Tuesday with the play in games. With the loss to Rangely on Friday, the Cowboys faced a must win game for the leagues’ fourth seed at home on Saturday against the West Grand Mustangs. The Cowboys needed an extra stanza to come from behind to claim the victory in overtime 68-64.Meeker, Rangely and West Grand all finished with the same league record but by virtue of head-to-head league games, Rangely won the third seed, Meeker fourth and West Grand fifth. West Grand and Meeker will have played in the first round of the tournament in Meeker this past Tuesday. Meeker will advance to the final four of the district tournament in Hayden this weekend. Results will be in next week’s edition.Friday in Rangely the Cowboys jumped to a 20-13 first quarter lead over the host Panthers. Ryan Wix and Trey Morris paced the Cowboys with five points each, while Templeton attempted to keep his team in striking distance. A dismal offensive effort in the second period proved to be the ‘Pokes downfall as they could only muster six points.Meanwhile, the Panthers’ Denny heated up the net with eight and Templeton added six more for an 18-6 second stanza and a halftime lead of 31-26. Cole Steiner and Trevor Matrisciano paced the Cowboys in the third period but Rangely used balanced scoring to counter their efforts as both teams scored 16, at the end of three quarters of play Rangely retained their five point lead 47-42. Sensing the upset, the Panther crowd cheered their team as Rangely again outscored the Cowboys in the fourth period by 23-16 to gain a 70-58 victory.Playing another tough league game was the last thing the Cowboys needed to do after the emotional letdown of the previous night. Meeker came out a little flat in the first half, and two productive scoring quarters by the visiting Mustangs had things looking a little dismal for the ‘Pokes at the end of the first half. Meeker found themselves down by 10 with a 33-23 score.A little ground was gained in the third period as Meeker used their defense to hold the Mustangs to 10 points while scoring 12 themselves. However, a daunting task was still before them as the Cowboys needed to make up eight more points. Pulling themselves up by their bootstraps, the Cowboys put on a furious rush in the fourth quarter to outscore their opponents 21-13 and force an overtime period. Five points from Cowboy Jake Nieslanik and four from Trevor Matrisciano in overtime outscored the visitors by four points to gain the much needed victory 68-64.Hayden has gained the first seed in the tournament and will have a first round bye. Paonia is second and will play number seven Soroco. Rangely is third and will face sixth seeded Vail Mountain. Meeker, fourth, will play fifth seed West Grand. Winners will advance to the district five tournament in Hayden Friday.