Meeker boys win regional championship
The Cowboys earned their spot in the “Sweet Sixteen,” by winning Friday night in the regional semi-finals against a very competitive Resurrection Christian team with an 18-4 record coming into the tournament.
The Meeker boys knew they had to play well and “The kids executed Friday’s game plan perfectly,” coach Klark Kindler said.
The Cowboys came out with a huge first quarter, taking the lead 25-17 behind eight points from sophomore Ty Dunham. Dunham continued his offensive storm, finishing the game with 24 points. Jeremy Musgrave simply found ways to score in the game with 29 points on Friday night.
The Cowboys took a three-point lead into halftime and they controlled the game from that point. They finished the contest with an impressive 79-73 win.
The championship game matched up Meeker against Paonia for the fourth time this season. The previous game was in the district championships, where Paonia prevailed. With a trip to the 2014 Colorado State Basketball Championships on the line, both teams came out playing like they had nothing to lose.
The Eagles took a first quarter lead 12-7, but Meeker fought back and the teams were tied at half time. As the second half began, it was a defensive battle, neither giving up an easy basket. Meeker trailed by one after three periods, but headed into the fourth quarter, Raul Lopez picked up the intensity and the team followed. Lopez played aggressive on both ends of the floor and had 25 points in the game.
It was a lay-up with a foul by Lopez that gave the Cowboys their momentum, and Meeker tied the game at the end of regulation play. Meeker came out in the first overtime and took control and a five point lead behind a three-point shot by Dylan Mobley.
With less then one minute to go, Paonia was fouling Meeker to stop the clock and the Cowboys struggled from the line. With 3.9 seconds left to play, the Cowboys were up three and Paonia had the ball, but they were 94 feet from the basket.
A Paonia guard got the ball, took about four dribbles and launched a long three-point shot. The ball banked into the basket, forcing a second overtime.
As the Paonia team celebrated, the Meeker boys looked very composed and gathered around their coach for the final game plan.
Coach Kindler said, “I really liked how our players handled themselves after the buzzer-beating three to force the second overtime.“
The Cowboys came out and once again took control going up five points. This time, however, they did not let the Eagles back in, with outstanding plays by several team members.
Kindler said, “We had every one of our players step up in one way or another.
From the turn-around jumper in the lane by Joe Newman to Kash Atwood’s huge rebound with less than four seconds to play, to the tremendous hustle by Lopez, the entire team put together a performance unmatched in recent years.”
The Cowboys secured a spot in the Elite Eight and the 2014 Colorado State Championships in Pueblo.
The Cowboys play Akron today at 1:15 p.m.