MEEKER I The Meeker Cowboys by virtue of the District 5 tournament games, 64-53 victory over West Grand, 48-64 loss to Hayden, 52-46 victory over Rangely, will be headed to the Region 7 Regional games at Standley Lake High School in Westminster where they are set as the No. 3 seed in that region. The Cowboys are will square off against the No. 2 seeded Peyton Panthers on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday’s play in a game in Meeker didn’t have the dramatic finish as when the two teams paired up the previous Saturday which Meeker won in overtime. The Cowboys were able to establish a quick lead after the first period and never relinquished it.
Led by senior Jake Nieslanik and his four points, the Cowboys opened up a 12-8 quarter lead. Nieslanik continued to pace his team in the second stanza with six more points while Cole Steiner contributed four to end the first half with the ‘Pokes up by a 28-23 score.
After the break, Ryan Wix found the range as he pounded the inside boards for 16 of his game high 27 points. Couple that with Nieslanik’s five points and an important three-point basket from Trevor Matrisciano and the Cowboys opened their lead to 52-31 over the visiting Mustangs as quarter three came to a close.
West Grand was able to close the gap a little in the fourth period but the Cowboy lead was too much as Meeker finished the visitors’ season with a 64-53 final.
Securing the fourth seed in a four team tournament usually means you draw the No. 1 seed in the first game and that’s exactly what the Cowboys did. Paired off against league champion Hayden in their own gym, the Cowboys fought the Tigers to an even 8-8 first quarter. The Tigers scratched out a slim lead in the second quarter as they counted for 16 points while Meeker put up 12. At half, Hayden’s lead was 24-20.
While Meeker enjoyed a lucrative inside game on Tuesday, they found the inside tougher on Friday, as they had to rely on a lot of outside shooting for points. Hayden was able to extend its lead in the third period by three more to take a 45-38 lead into the final period. Meeker couldn’t find the range and turnovers on consecutive trips down the floor hurt the ‘Pokes. Hayden took advantage of the Cowboy miscues and posted a 17-10 final quarter and a 64-48 victory. With the win, Hayden advanced to the championship game against Paonia while Meeker moved into the consolation, third/fourth place game against county rival Rangely who was defeated by Paonia earlier in the evening.
The third/fourth place game on Saturday was another rematch from the previous week. Meeker had beaten their cross county rivals in the first meeting of the two earlier in the year with Rangely returning the favor in the league matchup in Rangely.
Rangely started quickly as Enterline blistered the nets with three – three-point baskets as he paced the Panthers to a 16-10 first quarter lead. Meekers’ defense settled down in the second and their offense fired up, outscoring Rangely 17-11 on the strength of Wix’s 11 points in the quarter.
Kody Denny caught fire for Rangely in the third with nine more points as the battle seesawed back and forth. Rangely closed out the third stanza with a 44-41 lead. Meeker turned up the defensive heat in the final quarter to hold the Panthers to only two free throws in the entire period while scoring 11 for themselves to recover the lead and win the game 52-46.
Meeker will now face the Peyton Panthers (17-5) from the Black Forest League where they were the league champions. Peyton is located just east of the Air Force Academy near Colorado Springs. Peyton was defeated in the District 8 finals by Limon 60-53.
According to their website, Peyton is led by #32 Mitchell Watkins a 6’4” senior who averages 15.8 points per game, #50 Ethan Abello, a 6’0 sophomore guard averaging 15.5 ppg, and 6’6” senior #34 Nelson Van Tassel who rings up 7.4 points per game. Both teams have state experience as Meeker placed fifth in 2007 and third in 2009 in 2A while Peyton was the State Runner up in 3A in 2009. The winner of the Friday contest will face the winner of the Lyons versus Akron game with the winner of that game advancing on to the elite eight. Losers from now on will be eliminated.
Also, the Meeker ladies, will square off against the Peyton ladies at the same location on Friday, game time for the girls is set for 6 p.m., with the Cowboy/Panther boys game to follow at 7:30 p.m.
Meeker 12 16 24 12 – 64
West Grand 8 5 14 16 – 53
Morris 0,0,2,2,2 – Mobley 0,1,0,0,3 – Nieslanik 4,1,12,8,19 – Steiner 1,1,2,1,6 – Matrisciano 1,1,2,2,7 – Wix 10,0,12,7,27.
T. Gore 3,0,7,2,8 – T. Ritschard 3,0,0,0,6 – C. Gore 0,4,0,0,12 – Pesch 4,1,0,0,11 – N. Ritschard 5,0,4,3,13 – Gasuode 1,0,2,1,3
Meeker 8 12 18 10 – 48
Hayden 8 16 21 17 – 64
Morris 0,3,0,0,9 – Mobley 0,1,0,0,3 – Nieslanik 3,2,1,0,12 – Steiner 5,0,4,3,13 – Matrisciano 1,1,2,1,6 – Wix 2,0,4,1,5.
Johnston 3,0,2,1,7 – Medvesk 7,0,8,6,20 – Williams 5,0,4,3,13 – Ray 2,1,0,0,7 – Valdez 2,0,4,0,4 – Doolin 3,1,6,4,13.
Meeker 10 17 14 11 – 52
Rangely 16 11 17 2 – 46
Morris 1,0,0,0,2 – Nieslanik 6,0,0,0,12 – Steiner 2,0,2,1,5 – Boesch 1,0,0,0,2 – Matrisciano 0,1,3,2,5 – Eli 0,0,2,0,0 – Wix 10,0,9,6,26.
K. Denny 7,1,2,1,18 – Byerly 2,0,1,0,4 – C. Phelan 0,0,2,2,2 – Enterlin 0,3,0,0,9 – K. Denny 1,0,3,3,5 – Templeton 1,0,5,4,6.