Cowboys survive Eagles, secure league crown

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MEEKER I The Meeker Cowboys registered a come from behind 41-40 victory over the Paonia Eagles on Friday night, then secured their league championship Saturday against the Soroco Rams 73-40. The Cowboys still have two league games left this weekend — Rangely at home and West Grand in Kremmling — but regardless of the outcome of those contests, the Cowboys have clinched first place.
Friday night in Meeker the Cowboys got a taste of what it’s like to play on a big stage. Having just been treated to a rousing game where the Lady Cowboys staged a thrilling fourth quarter comeback only to fall short against the state’s number two ranked girls’ team, the fans were eager for a Cowboy victory.
Whether it was the packed gym, the noise level, or Paonia’s “nothing to lose” game plan, the ‘Pokes found themselves in a dogfight early. The Cowboys fell behind quickly as the visiting Eagles jumped out to a 14-10 first quarter lead. Meeker fared no better in the second quarter as Paonia increased their lead with a 14-7 quarter. Meeker was unable to capitalize on their shots, and Paonia was consistently out-rebounding the Cowboys to limit any possibility of second chance points. At the end of the first half, Meeker found themselves in a bit of a hole, down 28-17.
As has been their mode of operation lately, a second half adjustment and a tenacious defensive effort in the third quarter got the ‘Pokes back into the game. Meeker’s 13-3 third quarter set up the final stanza with the Cowboys down by one 31-30. Another good defensive quarter and some timely baskets by Cooper Smith, Scott Smith and Trey Morris provided the home crowd with the Cowboys’ 11th consecutive victory 41-40. Cooper Smith led all scorers with 18, while Trey Morris contributed nine.
Saturday in Oak Creek, shades of the night appeared as the Cowboys again had difficulty finding the range. Soroco kept pace with the Cowboys to close the first quarter down by four, 14-10. Cooper Smith then unleashed a scoring barrage in the second quarter with 13. Morris hit crucial back-to-back threes and Meeker was in command at halftime 37-20.
Another good defensive quarter and 20 offensive points pushed the Cowboys’ margin up to 30 points after the third quarter 57-27. Meeker scored 16 more in the final period to seal the victory 73-40. For the game, Cooper Smith was high with 20 and Trey Morris was consistent again with 14.
Meeker will host Rangely on Friday for the last home game of the season and will travel to Kremmling on Saturday to take on the always tough Mustangs of West Grand.
According to Colorado Preps, Meeker is now rated fifth in the state. This weekend’s victories along with losses by Limon and Ignacio pushed the Cowboys up two positions. According to the Preps, the state rankings are as listed.
1. Denver Christian (17-0) 2. Peyton (14-2)
3. Sanford (15-2) 4. Resurrection Christian (16-1)
5. Meeker (16-1) 6. Ignacio (14-4)
7. Akron (14-2) 8. Limon (14-2)
9. Rye (14-3) 10. Lutheran (10-7)

Meeker 10 7 13 11 – 41
Paonia 14 14 3 9 – 40
Meeker: C. Smith 9,0,1,0-18, S. Smith 2,0,0,0-4, Lopez 2,0,0,0-4, Eli 1,0,0,0-2, Morris 0,2,7,3-9, G. Smith 2,0,2,0-4
Paonia: Katzer 2,0,2,0-4, Walters 5,1,0,0-13, Sturgis 3,1,0,0-9, Linnell 0,0,2,1-1, Ford 5,0,8,3-13.
Meeker 14 23 20 16 – 73
Soroco 10 10 7 13 – 40
Meeker: C. Smith 3,4,2,2-20, S. Smith 5,0,3,1-11, A. Smith 0,0,2,1-1, Lopez 0,2,0,0-6, Musgrave 2,0,2,2-5, Morris 1,4,0,0-14, Casias 1,0,0,0-2, G. smith 6,0,1,0-12, Phelan 0,0,1,0-0, Atoafa 1,0,0,0-2
SoRoCo: Regan 4,0,0,0-6, Bradshaw 0,1,0,0-3, Anderson 2,0,4,2-6, McCollum1,0,2,2-4, Fitzhugh 0,0,2,0-0, Paxton 3,1,2,1-10, Leu 2,0,0,0-4, Jeep 3,0,1,1-7.