Rangely girls earn split in two games

RANGELY I When the week began, a split of its games wasn’t what the Lady Panthers had in mind.
But that’s how the week went.
The Lady Panthers started off well, blowing out Vail Christian last Friday 62-33. Rangely led from start to finish, outscoring Vail Christian in every quarter, including 21-6 in the first.
“That was one of the first times we actually came out ready to play,” said Rangely coach Jimmie Mergelman. “If we could have come out and played like that against Hayden.”
Ah, Hayden.
“We didn’t come out ready to play,” Mergelman said of Rangely’s 56-47 loss.
This time, it was the Lady Panthers who started out slow, trailing Hayden 18-8 after the first quarter.
“We beat ’em in three quarters,” Mergelman said. “But we spotted ’em 10 points (in the first quarter) and we lost by nine.”
It didn’t help, either, that the Lady Panthers missed 11 free throws.”
“We usually don’t shoot that poorly from the line,” Mergelman said. “Free throws, that’s the easiest shot in basketball, besides a layup, and we missed three layups to start the third quarter.”
Still, there were bright spots, Mergelman said, singling out senior Audrey Hogan and junior Torie Slagle.
“Audrey did a nice job. She’s consistent,” the Rangely coach said. “And Torie has been stepping up lately. She’s come around. Her defense was great against Hayden.”
Hayden and Paonia, the top two teams in the league, square off Friday, while Rangely (9-7 overall, 3-3 in the league) travels to Grand Valley on Tuesday, last-place De Beque on Friday and — in its final regular-season home game — will host county rival Meeker on Saturday afternoon. Rangely and Meeker are battling for an upper-tier finish in the league.