MEEKER I The Meeker High School boys’ basketball team swept through their last two regular league games Friday and Saturday, and they bring the No. 1 seed into the district tournament, which begins Friday.
On Friday, the Cowboys handily defeated Plateau Valley of Collbran by a 55-36 margin and came back on Saturday to defeat Hotchkiss in their last league game, 62-44.
Against Plateau Valley on Friday, Raul Lopez led all Cowboy scoring with 14 points, followed closely by Ty Dunham with 13 points, Jake Phelan and Cade Rowlett each added eight, Logan Hughes had 5, Joe Newman added four and Tony Collins added three.
On Saturday against Hotchkiss, Lopez was again the leading scorer with 19 points while Rowlett and Newman were also in double figures with 12 each. Newman added nine points, Phelan added eight and Matt France added a pair.
In comparing their league records, the Cowboys tied for first in the standings with Paonia, but Meeker took the top seed by virtue of the tie breaker, MHS Head Coach Klark Kindler said.
“We beat Paonia by 18 points and they beat us by four,” he said. “That four-point loss was our only loss, so we got the top seed by beating them by a larger margin than they beat us.
The Cowboys will open district play again Southern Routt County (Soroco) in Cedaredge at 7:30 p.m.
“We haven’t played Soroco as they are the second seed in the Gore Division,” Kindler said. “We are top seeds in the Mesa Division, and we know they have some quick good shooters.
“We need to execute what we we want to do,” he said. “We don’t want to give up any transition baskets, and I’d say that both teams are pretty well balanced.”
In the other district game on Friday, Paonia will play Vail Christian, and all four teams will advance to regionals next weekend in Grand Junction.
“I’m very proud of our team, and I think we have a good group as a whole,” Kindler said. “Seriously, we have had too many turnovers, and we have to cut those down.
“One of the best things this weekend is that we should be completely healthy for the first time in weeks,” he said. “Overall, I would look to us and Paonia as the favorites, and it could be tight as we split games.
“I am not looking at any one individual player to carry the team,” Kindler said. “We have good balance and I expect everyone will play a role in the games.”
Headed into the district tournament, the Cowboys hold an 18-1 record on the year.