RHS Panthers lose three in a row

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RANGELY I The Rangely Panthers boys’ basketball team lost 50-47 to the Paonia Eagles at home last Friday, then lost 57-43 to the Bulldogs in Hotchkiss on Saturday. The Panthers played the Cowboys in Meeker on Tuesday and lost 65-52, now Rangely will host West Grand tonight, starting at 6 p.m.
“Even though we are disappointed with the results of these individual games, there is no doubt that if we correct a few very correctable errors, the next time we play each of these teams we’ll be in a great position to win,” head coach Eric Hejl said of the court experience his team is getting. “When we look at our season as a whole, that is really what it’s all about.”
The Panthers led the Eagles until late in the fourth quarter, when a turnover and technical foul changed the lead and outcome for the Panthers.
“We’ve got to do a better job of holding the lead and putting teams away when we have the opportunity, otherwise, we set ourselves up for potential outcomes like this one,” Hejl said. “With about one minute left to play, we were still up by two, but we had a turnover at half court that led to a layup and a technical foul for one of our guys slapping the backboard. By the time we got the ball back, we were suddenly down by three and couldn’t get a last-chance three to fall on our next possession.”
Kaulan Brady led the Panthers with 16 points, Mitchell Webber added 10, Connor Phelan finished with nine, while Cameron Enterline, Andrew Morton and Colt Allred, each added four. Enterline led the team with 11 rebounds.
Against Hotchkiss, coach Hejl said, “It was a different type of game with a similar result.”
The Panthers trailed 6-17 at the end of the first quarter, then by 12 at halftime. Both teams scored 15 in the third period and Rangely could get no closer.
“It took us an entire quarter to wake up and get into the game, lots of poor shots, poor defense and turnovers got us in a 13-0 hole early,” Coach Hejl said. “For the next two quarters, we were able to keep them from stretching the lead, but it wasn’t until the fourth quarter when we really started to make a run.
“Kaulan shot well from outside the arc again and Cam and Mitch really did some good physical work inside,” he said. “With about two to three minutes left we had rallied to make it a three-point game, but it was too little, too late and we just didn’t have the energy to finish off the comeback.
Brady again led the Panthers in scoring with 14, Phelan added 12 and Enterline finished with nine.
Against Meeker on Tuesday, the Panthers led 19-15 after the first quarter but trailed by one at halftime, never to see the lead again. Meeker led by eight at the end of the third quarter and ended up winning by 13.
“This weekend will go a long way in helping us refocus and make sure we are playing our best basketball when it matters the most, and that’s in February and March,” Hejl said.