Lady Cowboys start 2014 basketball with a bang

Rio Blanco County seniors Taylor Neilson of Meeker and Tessa Slagle of Rangely prepare for a rebound during a game Tuesday in Meeker.

Rio Blanco County seniors Taylor Neilson of Meeker and Tessa Slagle of Rangely prepare for a rebound during a game Tuesday in Meeker.
Rio Blanco County seniors Taylor Neilson of Meeker and Tessa Slagle of Rangely prepare for a rebound during a game Tuesday in Meeker.
MEEKER I The Meeker High School girls’ basketball team started the new year and regular season off with a bang, winning three big games and beating the always-tough Paonia Eagles in Paonia to finish off their weekend, which began Thursday night against Plateau Valley.
“We played well for not playing for a month,” coach Greg Chintala said. The lady Cowboys came out strong and “…jumped out to an early lead and never looked back,” Chintala added.
Meeker led 33-10 at half and finished up 25 points for a commanding 51-26 win.
Hotchkiss came to town Friday night and brought a competitive team. Meeker did not shoot the ball well and trailed 14-11 after the first quarter. However, their defense took control, holding the Bulldogs to just four points in the second quarter, giving the lady Cowboys a three-point lead going into the locker room.
Meeker came out with new intensity in the third quarter. “We pulled away in the third and had an 11-point cushion going into the fourth quarter,” Chintala said.
Despite foul trouble, the team kept its composure, continued their solid defense and won the game 40-32.
The team traveled to Paonia for the third game of the weekend, one they knew would be an extremely tough battle.
“We started the game with a quick two points about 15 seconds into the game, then 15 seconds later Paonia tied the score, and that was our last lead for some time.”
The lady Cowboys trailed by two at the end of the first quarter.
“We played well for 15 minutes and 30 seconds of the first half, but we gave up six points in the last 30 seconds of the half,” Chintala said.
Meeker trailed by eight at the half, but the team showed they have tremendous heart to go with their talent. The girls began their comeback with great defense and turned that into offensive opportunities. They cut into the lead by one after the third and gained the confidence they needed. The group of girls proved once again the importance of team play and absolute determination to win as they fought back in the fourth quarter.
Chintala said, “We were down seven with a little over two and a half minutes to play. We tied the score with 5.9 seconds to play. After about three time-outs, Paonia inbounded the ball and we ended up stealing the ball.”
Sydney Hughes came out of a group of girls with the basketball, and was fouled. Even Paonia knew they had made a mistake in fouling Hughes as she stepped to the line to sink the game-winning free throw.
This completed an impressive run that seemed to epitomize what this team is about – hard work, competitiveness and teamwork.
“I am very proud of the girls and the way they played this weekend,” Chintala said.