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MEEKER I Stacey Fitzgibbons and Timbre Shriver, who played on last year’s state-placing girls’ basketball team, return this year to lead the Lady Cowboys as seniors and will open the season tonight at home, as hosts of the annual White River Electric Association’s Cowboy Shootout.
Meeker will play Telluride in the first round of the Shootout, with North Park and Altamont on one side of the bracket and defending Shootout champion Hayden, Middle Park, Grand Valley and Rangely on the other.
“I’m excited about Stacey and Timbre being our seniors,” head coach Hallie Blunt said. “They are both great leaders, both played a lot last year and work hard in practice.”
The Lady Cowboys won the regional tournament last year and finished fourth in the Colorado State Girls’ Basketball Championships.
Isabella Atoafa has joined the team this year as a senior and more than 30 are out for the team, including 17 freshmen.
“This is a great bunch of hard workers and a lot of them can play and keep up the tempo,” Blunt said of the freshmen. “They’ll be fun to watch by February.”
Blunt said she is “fortunate” to have Mike Dinwiddie assist with the JV, while Kaylene Turner works with the freshmen, and she is happy her former high school coach Richard Atkins will volunteer while working in the area.
“We all work well together,” Blunt said.
Blunt expects last year’s top four teams, Meeker included, along with Hayden, Paonia and Rangely to compete for the Northwest League title again this year.
“Paonia and Rangely will be really strong again and Hayden has a bunch back this year,” Blunt said. “We’ll just have to see what order we finish in.”
Meeker will tipoff against Telluride in the late game tonight, scheduled for 7:45 p.m.
“I’m excited to see how these kids are going to play,” Blunt said. “I think they might surprise some people.