MHS Cowboys post two crucial league victories

MEEKER I The Meeker Cowboys boys’ basketball team upped its winning streak to nine games and improved their record to 11-4 (5-1 conference) with a pair of victories last weekend. Victories over the Debeque Dragons and the Plateau Valley Cowboys have the ‘Pokes in a good league position as they head into the final weeks of the regular season.
Friday, Meeker travels to Paonia for a pivotal league game and returns home for more league action on Saturday against Soroco. With only four league games left in the season, Meeker must continue their winning ways to secure the second seed in the District 7 tournament which begins Feb. 23. Hayden has control of the number one seed.
In addition to this week’s action, Meeker will play a conference game against cross-county rival Rangely on the Panther’s home court next Friday. Meeker and Rangely have already met once in a non-league match that the Cowboys won 62-42. The ‘Pokes will then end their regular season with a home game against West Grand on Saturday, Feb. 19.
Friday in Debeque Meeker jumped on the Dragons in the first quarter and never let up. Despite the improved play of Debeque, and 28 points from the Dragons’ Ethan Martin, Meeker was in solid control of the entire game. Meeker opened up an 11 point lead after one period with a 21-10 score. Senior post Ryan Wix tallied nine points and Cole Steiner picked up seven points. The Dragons’ Martin gamely tried to keep his team close with nine points in the second quarter, but Meeker ended the first half with a solid 42-26 lead.
The Cowboys didn’t match their first two stanzas for scoring in the third, but Debeque could not close the gap. Both teams matched baskets as Wix counted eight to lead the ‘Pokes and Martin countered with nine. Sixteen points from both teams closed the third period at 58-42. Meeker lengthened their lead again in the fourth with a 20 point quarter with six different Cowboys scoring. The Dragons could only counter with 15 and the game ended 78-57. Wix led the Cowboys with 22 points while Cole Steiner chipped in 14.
Saturday afternoon Meeker showed the 1A Plateau Valley Cowboys – rated eighth – that there wasn’t enough room in this cow town for two sets of Cowboys.
The Meeker ‘Pokes sent the visiting green and white Cowboys packing with their second loss to the black and gold this season. The final score was 61-57. The game started quickly as Plateau Valley jumped out on Meeker 1-4. A 3-pointer by Trey Morris with 4:50 to go in the quarter followed by back-to-back treys from Cole Steiner gave Meeker their first lead 10-9. Meeker finished the quarter up 13-10.
Morris hit another three to start the second quarter for Meeker but Plateau Valley wouldn’t give up. With 40 seconds left in the quarter Plateau tied the game at 23. A pair of free throws gave the visitors the halftime lead 23-25.
In the third period Meeker repeatedly pounded the boards to gain several rebounds against the taller Plateau team. In the quarter, Steiner had eight points, Morris and Jake Nieslanik counted for six each, and Wix had four for Meeker’s 24-point quarter and a 47-42 lead.
Like boxers trading punches, both teams took turns putting up points in the fourth. After increasing their lead to 10 points, Meeker lost focus slightly and had four consecutive turnovers that allowed Plateau to get back in the game at 56-54. Dylan Mobley converted a basket and a free throw to put Meeker back up 59-57. Meeker was holding a two point lead with 1:30 left in the game and went into a four corner offense. Unfortunately, the ball bounced out of bounds, giving Plateau an opportunity to tie or possibly win the game with the last shot. Fortune smiled on the home team though, as two attempts by Plateau fell short. The visitors were forced to put Meeker on the foul line and Morris converted two of his four attempts to close out the score 61-57. Steiner led the Cowboys with 17 followed by Nieslanik and Morris with 15 each.

Meeker 21 21 16 20 – 78
Debeque 10 16 16 15 – 57

Meeker
Morris 3,1,1,0,9 – Mobley 1,1,0,0,5 – Smith 1,0,2,1,3 – Nieslanik 4,0,2,0,8 – Steiner 4,2,2,0,14 – Walsh 1,0,0,0,2 – Boesch 0,1,2,2,5 –
Eli 4,0,2,2,10 – Wix 10,0,7,2,22

Debeque
David 1,0,0,0,2 – Daniels 0,0,2,1,1 – White 2,1,0,0,7 – Palmer 1,0,7,6,8 – Weist 0,0,1,1,1 – Low 0,1,0,0,3 – Martin 6,4,6,4,28 – Aiuto 3,0,1,1,7

Meeker 13 10 24 14 – 61
Plateau Valley 10 15 17 15 – 57

Meeker
Morris 3,2,6,2,15 – Mobley 1,0,3,2,4 – Nieslanik 3,2,7,3,15 – Steiner 3,3,6,2,17 – Wix 3,0,4,4,10

Plateau Valley
Schuman 1,0,0,0,2 – Hawkins 3,1,1,0,9 – Grundy 4,1,2,1,12 – Langley 4,0,2,2,10 – Mora 8,0,6,5,21 – Vivian 1,0,2,1,3