MEEKER I The wins just keep piling up, and with two wins at the district tournament over the weekend, the Meeker High School boys carry the No. 1 District 5 seed into the regional tournament this weekend, two games from being headed to the Colorado Class C State Basketball Tournament in Denver.
But first things first. The Cowboy cagers have a couple of tough opponents ahead, starting out in the first round of regionals on Friday night, when head coach Klark Kindler’s boys will take on Ridgeway, which is the District 3, No. 3 seed at Grand Junction Central High School, beginning at 7:30 p.m.
First, the Meeker cagers defeated Soroco (Southern Routt County) by a wide 69-42 margin on Friday at district and followed up on Saturday to soundly defeat a tough Paonia team 61-47 to keep its No. 1 district seed intact as one of the two top district seeds at regionals, the other No. 1 seed being Ignacio, from District 3.
Meeker had no problem jumping out to a quick lead vs. Soroco, taking a 15-7 edge at the end of the first period and outscoring Soroco in the second period, 16-8, to take a 31-15 lead at the half.
The Cowboys won the scoring battle in the third quarter as well by a 20-18 edge to take a 51-33 lead to the end of the game, which ended won 69-42.
Raul Lopez led the Cowboy scorers with 16 points, and he was joined in double figures by Kash Atwood and Ty Dunham with 11 each and Joe Newman and Cade Rowlett with 10 each. Adding to the effort were Tony Collins with six, Logan Hughes with three and Jake Phalen with two.
“We had good balanced scoring and we played tough as a team,” Cowboy head coach Klark Kindler said. “We played well in both weekend games and we just jumped on Paonia in the second quarter of that game and forced them to play catch-up ball the entire game after that.”
On Saturday, Paonia jumped out to a quick 13-9 lead at the end of the first quarter, but a turnaround in the second period saw the Cowboy five take command, outscoring Paonia by 20-8 margin to garner a 29-21 lead at the half.
The third period saw Meeker keep up the pressure and outscore the opponents, 15-9, to take a 44-30 lead headed into the fourth quarter. In the last period, both teams scored 17 points, giving the Cowboys the 61-47 victory and a 20-1 record on the season.
Once again, Lopez led the Meeker scorers with an impressive 23 points, and he was followed by Dunham adding 17 and Atwood adding 11. Also scoring were Rowlett scoring seven, Logan Hughes adding two and Joe Newman adding one.
Regarding Friday night’s opponent, Kindler said, “Ridgeway has three very good guards, but they went through a coaching change mid-season, so it is hard to tell what they will do. Their defense is their weakness, but they have a strong offense.
“I’m not sure how we will attack this game yet,” Kindler said on Monday. “I haven’t had a chance to see them on film yet. I do know they are not a big team with the tallest players being only 6-foot-1.”
“I believe we will continue to do what we have done so far; we just need to execute well,” Kindler said. “We will try to force them to play an up-tempo game and don’t need to make any changes if we can execute it well,” he said. “We are quick, play well as a group, we are very unselfish and play well defensively, and that is just what we hope to continue on Friday night.”
Only the top seeds at the end of the tournament will proceed to the state tournament next weekend in Denver.