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RANGELY I The lady Panthers’ basketball team will play the Wray Eagles in Denver this Friday in the Region 4 tournament after playing two games in the district tournament last weekend in Paonia. Head coach Quinton Kent is excited about his team’s post-season opportunity.
“We are excited to go to regionals again, it has been a goal of ours,” Kent said. “We are hoping to take it a step further now.”
Rangely took an early lead against the league champion and No. 1 seeded Paonia Eagles last Friday and held it until the fourth quarter.
“Our defense did a great job of staying in position and forcing a lot of outside shots,” Kent said. “We controlled the paint, which gave us a chance against a very good Paonia team.”
Senior Brittany Babineaux hit two three-pointers in the first quarter, classmates Quincey Thacker added four points and Kelsey Prosser made a free throw, giving Rangely an 11-5 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Rangely led 18-12 at halftime and took a 24-21 lead into the fourth quarter but was unable to get the win after being outscored 15-10 in the fourth.
“We handled their pressure well in the first half but we missed too many free-throws, layups, and turned the ball over entirely too much in the second half,” Kent said. “We didn’t give up too many points in the second half but the ball seemed to be on their end of the floor way too much. We had a higher field goal percentage and out rebounded them but they slowly wore us down and pulled it out in the fourth.”
Babineaux and Thacker each scored 14 points, Chelsea Ficken added five and Prosser finished with one against the Eagles.
Against Hotchkiss, the Lady Panthers again started out ahead, building a 21-13 first half lead but unable to maintain the lead in the second half.
“Again, we played well in the first half but did not finish the game,” Kent said. “We had too many mental errors that really hurt us in the second half. Hotchkiss played good defense in the second half and we didn’t respond well to it.”
Thacker led with 15 points, Babineaux finished with 10 and Prosser scored five. Aimee Hogan made two baskets in the second quarter and Leslie Hernandez and Ficken each made a basket against Hotchkiss.
Rangely currently sports a 12-10 record and will play Wray, which currently has a record of 10-12, starting at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Mullen High School in Denver.
“Based on everything we know about Wray so far, it will be a good matchup for us,” Kent said of the upcoming regional game, where only the regional champion advances to the “Elite Eight” state tournament the following week.
“Like us, they don’t have a deep bench and don’t have a lot of scoring options either,” Kent said. “We anticipate a good game and hope we come out on top. It seems as if both teams are playing good basketball right now, so it should be a good battle between two scrappy teams.”