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MEEKER I As the fifth-ranked team in Colorado 2A girls’ basketball, Meeker’s lady Cowboys headed to Hotchkiss Jan. 11 and hosted the number 10 ranked Paonia Eagles on Saturday. Meeker started the Hotchkiss game with a bucket from Piper Haney and the Bulldogs answered with two on their own. Taylor Nielson dumped in two more baskets but once again Hotchkiss added two buckets with a foul shot ending the first quarter 6-9 Bulldogs.
Meeker’s intense defense kept the game alive with steals and turnovers but the lady Cowboys could not buy a bucket as they went 0-4 for the first two minutes of the second quarter while Hotchkiss added four more points to their side of the scoreboard. Finally, Kaysyn Chintala nailed a jump shot and Katie Dinwiddie added two foul shots closing the gap 10-13, Bulldogs. Meeker continued their defensive onslaught, and Hotchkiss tried to answer with a scrappy, yet too physical defensive of their own which put Meeker shooting bonus free throws with four minutes still on the clock. Haney stepped to the line for the first of five times and sank both shots 12-13. Immediately Meeker’s tenacious full court press fell into action as Aly Ridings stole the ball for a full court uncontested layup. Hotchkiss hit a foul shot of their own and tied the game 14-14 with less than a minute on the clock. The next play Neilson picked off a pass and dished it to Sydney Hughes who was hammered at the basket by a Bulldog and stepped to the line for two more foul shots. Meeker led 16-14 at halftime.
Meeker hit the floor with their usual third quarter spark and immediately Chintala sank another jumper and Kacey Collins made two foul shots, but Hotchkiss kept battling and answered with two buckets 20-18, Meeker. The defensive battle continued, but the Bulldogs could not match Meeker’s quick movement and began racking up their fouls. Meeker was shooting bonus free throws halfway through the third, which kept them alive as they still had difficulty shooting from the floor. Meeker led 35-32 going into the final stretch. The Bulldog’s overly rough defense proved their downfall in the fourth quarter when they sent the lady Cowboys to the line nine times where Haney capitalized with seven more of her 13 total points to lead the team to a 51-46 win. Ridings followed with nine, Neilson and Hughes bucketed eight, Chintala added seven, Dinwiddie sank four and Collins hit two. In the midst of the Bulldog’s rough assault, they took out Meeker’s 6-foot Katie Dinwiddie with an ankle injury.
Meeker headed into Saturday’s game against the tough Paonia Eagles with a 7-0 record and Dinwiddie sidelined. The lady Cowboys sprang into action with Neilson, Collins, Haney and Ridings all finding the basket to take a lead 8-5 in the first three minutes. Paonia answered with a fast break layup, but fouled Chintala the next time down the floor where she sank both shots and returned to hit a three pointer, 13-7 Meeker. The Eagles responded with three more points and Amanda Kendall put in a rebound to end the quarter with Meeker leading 15-10. Paonia turned to their signature rough and aggressive play in the second quarter and found a lead as Meeker once again could not buy a bucket from the floor. The Eagles racked up 18 points, but Chintala and Norell only made one foul shot each and the lady Cowboys headed to the locker room trailing 17-28.
Meeker returned with their intense defense and composed, patient offense and began to dig themselves out. Neilson, Collins and Hughes hit buckets and Chintala added a foul shot, but Paonia still led 24-36 going into the fourth. Neilson, Ridings, and Chintala came out firing and closed the gap within eight as Paonia added only two more buckets. Then Chintala’s scrappy defense tipped the ball to Hughes who dished in a layup. Down by six Meeker was sent to the line in double bonus, but missed some key foul shots and still had difficulty shooting from the floor. Paonia added five points to lead by 11 and assumed a stall offense. Meeker was forced to get even more aggressive with their defense and Haney capitalized with a fast break bucket.
With one minute left in the game, Chintala added the last two of her team-leading 10 points, but Meeker fell short as they were forced to foul. Paonia added three more foul shots to win the game 35-47. Chintala sunk 10, Neilson cashed in six, Haney, Ridings, Collins and Hughes all added four, Kendall hit a bucket and Norell made a foul shot.
Head coach Greg Chintala was “pleased with every phase of the game this weekend but shooting,” which was only 25 percent from the floor. Chintala would like the lady Cowboys “to knock the rust off the rim, because we must shoot well against the good teams to win.”
Meeker met their county rivals in Rangely Tuesday and won 51-24. They will host West Grand Friday night at 4:30 p.m. and head to North Park on Saturday.
Both North Park and West Grand have big losses to teams that Meeker dominated by 20 or more points.