Lady Cowboys win one, lose one, prepare for RHS

MEEKER I A win over Hotchkiss and a loss to Paonia over the weekend lands the lady Cowboys the No. 2 spot in the league as they head into the final weekend of regular season play.
Meeker’s typical tenacious defense attacked Friday, Feb. 15 against the Hotchkiss Bulldogs. The defense allowed two early buckets for Hotchkiss, but quickly found their groove with five steals from their press.
After Taylor Neilson opened the rim with a two, Kaysyn Chintala snagged the Bulldog’s inbounds pass, was hammered on her layup and added two foul shots. Neilson snatched another inbounds pass and dished it to Aly Ridings for a layup.
When Meeker set up offense again, Chintala drained a three and then Neilson added a jumper for a quick Cowboy lead, 11-4. Sydney Hughes dumped in two foul shots. Deena Norell then picked off a pass and found Hughes for another two points. Hughes promptly snagged the next inbounds pass and Neilson added a jumper.
The Bulldogs made an eight point run, but Meeker’s Bailey Atwood hit a two and Hughes added a foul shot to give Meeker a 20-12 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Bulldogs came out with two foul shots, but Piper Haney sank a bucket and a free throw. Katie Dinwiddie then added a bucket before Hotchkiss added five to their side of the board.
With two minutes left on the clock, Dinwiddie added two more. Then Neilson picked off another Bulldog pass and found Chintala who drove to the basket. Chintala was injured when a Bulldog player took her out in her layup. Hughes came in and made both foul shots for Chintala, stole the ball for a layup and then cashed in two more foul shots. Meeker led 33-19 at halftime.
The lady Cowboys continued their 14 point lead through the third quarter, but sealed the game as they scored 13 points in the fourth to the Bulldog’s five. In the 53-31 victory, Hughes made 17 points, Neilson bucketed 10, Chintala hit eight, Dinwiddie dished in seven, Ridings added six and Haney had three.
Saturday in Paonia Meeker hit the floor and “played with the best intensity of the year,” according to head coach Greg Chintala. “Unfortunately,” Chintala said, “Friday every shot we finished, but just didn’t quite finish Saturday.”
Initially Paonia took a two point lead, but Kaysyn Chintala nailed a three on the next trip down the floor. Both teams fell into their signature presses which slowed the game down from Paonia’s usual pace. The score zigzagged through the quarter. The Eagles hit a shot, and then Neilson swished a jumper. Paonia made a free throw to tie up the score, but Chintala answered with another three pointer. Paonia added five to the board, but Dinwiddie rebounded her own miss on a free throw for a bucket then sank another shot. Hughes hit two foul shots to close the quarter 14-10, Meeker.
The seesaw score continued through the second quarter, but Meeker held their lead as the buzzer sounded for half time 22-20, Meeker. The third quarter proved to be the downfall of the lady Cowboys as Paonia came out firing with four three pointers in a row. Paonia then added two buckets with foul shots attached. Meeker couldn’t answer to the Eagle’s 42 points in the second half. The game closed 62-38, Paonia. Hughes led again with 11, Neilson made nine, Chintala added eight, Dinwiddie dished in seven, Haney sank a bucket and Ridings hit a free throw.
Friday, Feb. 22, the Lady Cowboys host Rangely in their final regular season game. The following week of play will see Meeker in a pigtail match Tuesday, Feb. 26, to determine their spot in the district tournament held in Paonia the first weekend in March.