Lady Cowboys finish runners-up in district

MEEKER — For the first time in several years, Meeker High School was the site of the district basketball tournament, where four girls’ and four boys’ teams played for a district title and seeds in the upcoming regional tournaments, which all eight teams will advance to.
They didn’t win the district championship but the Meeker girls’ basketball team did win the No. 2 seed in the upcoming regional tournament, which will be played in Durango.
“I think the second seed is the best draw,” Meeker head coach Hallie Blunt said after her team lost to the Paonia Eagles in the district championship game. “It is a good region to be going to.”
Meeker advanced to the Region 3 tournament with a semifinal win over the Hayden Tigers last Friday, something the Lady Cowboys had not been able to accomplish in two previous attempts. Meeker beat the Tigers 70-43.
“It was the best game we’ve had this year,” Blunt said of the semifinal game against the Tigers. “It was team basketball on offense and defense. To have 70 points and hold them to 43, we did some things right and are coming together.”
Hayden made the first basket but Meeker soon caught up and passed the Tigers to lead 15-9 after the first quarter and carried a 12-point lead to the locker room at halftime.
Meeker senior Sydney Cook led all scorers with 23 points, including a perfect five-for-five from the free-throw line and classmate Janae Kindall scored 12 of her 16 points in the first half.
“We talked all week about stopping their offense,” Blunt said. “We wanted to get them down, then run with them.”
Meeker took off running in the third quarter, outscoring the Tigers 21-8 to lead 53-28 going into the final quarter, where the Lady Cowboys scored 17 more and allowed 15.
Junior Stacey Fitzgibbons finished with 14, senior Marki Cook had nine, Kelsey Kendall added four, Timbre Shriver three and Elissa McLaughlin made a free throw.
The championship game was not as fast or as high-scoring, as Meeker lost 33-26 to Paonia.
“It was a defensive game for sure,” Blunt said. “We did what we needed to do defensively, we just didn’t shoot well on offense.”
Meeker led 10-5 after the first quarter but trailed 16-20 at halftime before pulling ahead by one going into the final quarter, where the Lady Cowboys only scored one point and the Eagles won the title with nine.
Now Meeker will play Resurrection Christian at 7 p.m. Friday, in a must-win game to advance to the regional title game, with either Dolores or La Veta, Saturday at 1 p.m.
Only the regional champions will advance to the 2009 Colorado State Basketball Championships in Pueblo March 12-14.