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RANGELY I Only a couple of weeks had passed since most of the Rangely girls’ basketball team played on a volleyball court in the Colorado State Volleyball Champion-ships in Denver. This past weekend, the Lady Panthers were playing on a basketball court in Meeker, where they finished third in the White River Electric Cowboy Shootout.
Rangely won its opening game against 3A Grand Valley 38-34, then lost to the eventual champion and Northwest League foe Hayden 56-68, before pounding 3A Cedaredge 45-20 in the consolation championship game.
“It was nice to get the first one out of the way,” head coach Jimmie Mergelman, who also coached the volleyball team, said of the season opener.
Rangely jumped out to a 9-2 lead after the first period against Grand Valley, with seven points from tournament MVP Victoria Phelan. The Lady Panthers added 13 more in the second quarter and led by 10 at halftime. Grand Valley came back with 15 in the third, to pull within two but Rangely out scored them by two in the final quarter and won by four.
Against Hayden, it was different, Rangely fell behind by eight after the first quarter and never came back.
“Hayden did a nice job and we had way too many turnovers,” Mergelman said. “You can’t have that many turnovers against a good team and win.”
Phelan led all scorers again with 25 points and Brittany Banineaux also finished in double figures with 14.
The loss to Hayden matched the Lady Panthers against the Cedaredge Bruins for third place. Both teams started slow as only eight points were scored in the first quarter with Rangely taking a 5-3 lead. The Lady Panthers broke the game open in the second, scoring 15 points and never looking back. All eight Rangely varsity players scored in the final game.
“Before the game, we talked about cutting down our turnovers and ran through our offense,” Mergelman said. “Our defense creates offense for us, so when we play good defense our offense comes along.”
Phelan again led all scorers with nine and a total of 51 in the tournament. Banineaux finished the tournament with 29 points and made it to the finals in the three-point contest. Rozilynn Thacker finished the tourney with 16, Marie Morton scored 14 and Torie Slagle finished the tournament with nine. Haeley Enterline had eight in the three games, Quincey Thacker scored six, while Kelsey Harvey and Rosalise Coombs each scored two in the three-day event.
“They do a nice job putting this tournament on and the girls like to come,” Mergelman said.
Rangely does not have a game scheduled for this weekend.
Cowboys needed extra time to win their final game of the tourney.
“We started with a lead against Snake River but lost our heads, turned the ball over and fouled to let them back in,” Joy said. “In overtime, we cleaned it up, no silly mistakes or fouls, we got a bit of a lead and hung on to it.”
de Vergie led the team with 34 points in the tournament, Ridings had 18, Doll scored 16, Glass 14, Kaylyn Edwards had 12 and Neilson 10. Kaysyn Chintala finished with nine, Walsh five, Jordan Brown finished with two and Denee Chintala had one.
Meeker’s JV team won all three of its games and the C-team played and lost three.
“It was a great tournament and I think the teams were evenly matched,” Joy said.
Meeker will not play again until Dec. 17, when they travel to south-central Colorado to play Sangre de Cristo and Center.