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MEEKER — For the second time in three years, the Meeker High School boys’ basketball team has won the District 5 tournament.
With a convincing 84-50 win over county rival Rangely on Friday, and a hard-fought victory over Plateau Valley 61-50, the Cowboys have earned the No. 1 seed in the Region 5 tournament. Meeker will square off against Longmont Christian at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Mesa State College gym in Grand Junction.
Friday in Meeker, the Cowboys got out of the blocks quickly against the Panthers. Mitch Jacob and Brock Campbell paced the Cowboy offensive attack with eight and six points in the quarter. Meanwhile, the defense only allowed three baskets and a free throw from the Panthers and opened up a 23-8 first quarter lead.
Jacob continued the hot hand for the Cowboys in the second as he counted for six more points on short-range jumpers. Meanwhile, Campbell and senior Brian Crowe continued to rain in the 3-point shots as Meeker counted for nine 3-pointers in the game. Offensively, Rangely could not get anything going against the stingy Cowboy defense. Panther Michael Morton was able to lead his team with four points in the quarter. As has been the motive for most of the season, the Cowboys had basically put the game out of reach in the first half as they lengthened their lead to 42-17.
Rangely was able to somewhat find the range in the third quarter as they accounted for three 3-point shots, two by Patrick Phelan and a 15-point quarter.
Meeker, however, countered the Panther offense and nearly doubled the output with 27 of their own as Jacob, Crowe and Tyrel Gerloff counted for seven, six, and six points, respectively. Rangely actually outscored the Cowboys in the fourth period by an 18-15 score as Cowboy Coach Klark Kindler substituted his bench in to finish the game.
The Cowboys were led in the quarter by Ryan Wix’s four points, while Rangely countered with Denny’s five. Jacob led all scorers in the game with 21, followed by Gerloff and Crowe with 12 each.
Meeker had secured themselves a place in the championship game Saturday against the other Cowboys from Plateau Valley, which eked out a narrow 55-52 win over a scrappy Hayden team earlier in the night. The highlight of the game came on the final shot as the Hayden 3-point attempt to tie the game circled the basket several times before finally falling out as the final buzzer sounded.
“We had a really great crowd for the tournament,” said Kindler, “and our student body gave us a great boost in both of our games.”
Saturday in the championship game against the Plateau Valley Cowboys, Meeker again started quickly. Jacob found the range early and quickly counted eight points before his hot hand cooled. However, Crowe and Campbell picked up the scoring for the Cowboys as they counted for six and five in the quarter as Meeker opened up a 21-11 lead at the end of the first.
The Cowboy scoring machine fell on a cold quarter in the second as they were only able to count for five points in the quarter. Meanwhile, the Plateau Valley team cut into the lead and closed out the half with the Meeker quintet leading by only four 26-22. Crowe took charge of the Cowboys in the third quarter as he gathered eight points on his dribble penetration into the paint.
Meeker won the third-quarter scoring with 15 but couldn’t pull away from the opponent Cowboys as the quarter ended with a 41-35 lead for Meeker. PV closed to within two points of Meeker at one time, but were forced to send the ‘Pokes to the free throw line in the final minutes to get the ball back. Crowe calmly sank all of his opportunities at the charity stripe to close out the win for the local Cowboys 61-50. Crowe, playing his last home game in a Cowboy uniform, led all scorers in the game with a sound 24-point effort.
Meeker will now play in the Region 5 tournament against the District 7 fourth-place team Longmont Christian. The other regional game will feature Rangely squaring off against the District 6 second-place team Custer County. Prior to the district tournaments, Custer County was ranked fourth in the state, while Meeker was holding down the third state ranking. Meeker has not faced the Longmont team in the past.
“Longmont is reported to be quick and athletic,” said Coach Kindler, while “Custer County has a good guard and a good post player.”
Should both the Cowboys and the Panthers win on Friday, it will set up a third game between Meeker and Rangely for the right to go to state in Pueblo.
Meeker 23 19 27 15 - 84
Rangely 8 9 15 18 - 50
Jacob 7-2-1-5-21, Rowlett 4-0-2-2-10, Brown 3-0-0-1-6, Nieslanik 0-0-1-3-1, Gerloff 5-0-2-2-12, Steiner 1-0-0-0-2, Campbell 1-3-0-2-11, Crowe 0-4-0-0-12, Matrisciano 1-0-1-2-3, Kilduff 1-0-0-0-2, Wix 2-0-0-0-4. Totals 25-9-7-17-84.
K. Denny 1-1-0-1-5, Chavez 0-0-1-2-1, Brady 1-0-2-4-4, Perzinski 0-1-0-0-3, Phelan 2-2-3-4-13, Herrera 0-2-0-0-6, Dahl 1-1-0-0-5, Morton 4-1-2-4-13. Totals 9-8-8-15-50.
Meeker 21 5 15 20 - 61
Plateau Valley 11 11 13 15 - 50
Jacob 2-2-1-2-11, Rowlett 4-0-0-4-8, Brown 0-0-3-5-3, Nieslanik 1-0-0-0-2, Gerloff 3-0-0-0-6, Campbell 1-1-2-4-7, Crowe 6-2-6-7-24.Totals 17-5-12-22-61.
Schweer 0-2-0-0-6, Schuman 5-0-1-2-11, Grundy 2-0-0-0-4, Hawkins 1-1-1-0-5, Bruton 1-0-0-0-2, Coon 5-0-4-6-14, Schuman 4-0-0-0-8. Totals 18-3-5-9-50.