Meeker girls advance to ‘Elite Eight’ in Pueblo
If last weekend was a preview of what’s to come this final weekend, the team may very well be playing in the Saturday night game.
Meeker began the regional tournament as the No. 1 seed with the semi-final game against Nucla on Friday night. The lady Cowboys came out with their trademark defense, holding their opponents to just five points in the entire first half.
The lady Cowboys combined defensive pressure with offensive patience and were up nearly 30 points at intermission.
“We started quickly and jumped out to a comfortable lead. We were able to save our legs for the next day,” said head coach Greg Chintala.
Meeker never looked back, winning the game 46-24 and securing a place as one of the top 16 teams in the state and a chance to play Saturday against South Routt County (Soroco).
This would be the fourth meeting against Oak Creek,and the Rams set the tone early, letting it be known they would not go down easy.
“Soroco played as well as I have seen them play for several years,” coach Chintala said.
Meeker matched the intensity in the first period but did not get shots to fall, finding themselves behind as the quarter came to an end.
In the second period, the Rams got up by as many as seven points, but the lady Cowboys never lost their composure.
Meeker increased their defensive intensity behind the incredible hustle of Sydney Hughes, who turned two steals into four points for the team. Hughes changed the tempo and the team changed the momentum, making a run and going into the locker room up 24-22.
The lady Cowboys proved why they are a team that can truly compete for a title as they took over in the second half, opening up a 10 point lead.
Taylor Neilson finally found some room to score as the “box-and-one” defense had somebody with her for 94 feet and 32 minutes. Neilson and fellow seniors Aly Ridings, Piper Haney, and Deena Norell came up with huge rebounds, important points and a total team effort that resulted in an impressive 49-37 win.
Chintala said, “All weekend long, different players stepped up at the right time. Our effort was fantastic.”
The team will play Akron on Thursday at 11:45 a.m. in Pueblo,
“This is a good match-up for us. I like our chances,” Chintala said.
The Meeker girls are playing the type of basketball that makes any match look good for them.
They are getting great team play and balanced scoring, and their defensive pressure is unmatched. The combination has proven to be among the top eight in the state, and still climbing.