Hoops: Rangely girls lose one, win one against Utah teams

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RANGELY I The Lady Panthers lost their rematch with Altamont, Utah, but the score was closer than the first meeting.
Rangely lost at Altamont 43-37 last Thursday, five days after falling to the Longhorns in the third-place game at the Cowboy Shootout in Meeker.
Even though the end result was the same, Rangely coach Jimmie Mergelman was happier with her team the second time around.
“We played much better as a whole,” Mergelman said. “Throughout last week in practice, we worked a lot on defense and playing better post defense.”
Still, if she had her druthers, Mergelman would have preferred not to have played Altamont again in such a short time span.
“If we play a team twice, it’s nice to have ’em spread out, instead of back-to-back weeks,” she said.
Like the Rangely boys’ team, height is a problem for the Lady Panthers.
“We’re so small. Marie (Morton) is our tallest player, and I don’t think she’s even 6 foot,” Mergelman said. “The rest of our players, the average height is maybe 5-6.”
Against Altamont, Rangely came up against Morgan Fieldsted, the Longhorns’ post player who was named to the all-tournament team at the Cowboy Shootout.
“We have to play better pressure defense out front and limit the number of catches the big girls get,” Mergelman said of how the Lady Panthers can compensate for their lack of height.
Audrey Hogan led the Lady Panthers with 15 points against Altamont.
Rangely, 1-3, came up against another big lineup Tuesday when it hosted Vernal, Utah.
“I think they have three girls over 6 feet tall,” Mergelman said.
Still, the Lady Panthers prevailed, winning easily, 61-25. Quincey Thacker scored a game-high 12 points, followed by Hogan with nine.
On Friday, Rangely will host Plateau Valley.
“That will finish up our preseason schedule,” Mergelman said. “They (Plateau Valley) are in our league, but this doesn’t count as a league matchup, because league play doesn’t start until after Christmas.”