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MEEKER — A 59-44 win over the Plateau Valley Cowboys in the quarterfinal round of the district tournament advances the Meeker Cowboys to the semifinals this Friday in Paonia. Meeker will play the No. 1 seeded and defending state champion Grand Valley Cardinals.
In the first round, the game started out close but Meeker shot the ball well early and played tough defense in the second half for the win.
“We thought it would be a good game and it was tied at 6-6 early, then we came down and made three threes,” head coach Klark Kindler said. “After that we kept the lead and it grew as the game went on.”
Juniors Tyler Matrisciano and Brian Crowe each hit two 3-pointers in the first quarter and both finished with three-threes. Meeker led 15-6 at the end of the first quarter and outscored Plateau Valley 15-12 in the second to take a 30-18 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The Meeker Cowboys came out at halftime and put their defense to work, shutting down the Plateau Valley Cowboys.
“We held them without a basket for about six minutes in the third quarter,” Kindler said. “The kids did a good job getting out on their shooters.”
Plateau Valley outscored Meeker 22-15 in the final quarter but it was too little, too late.
Dakota Rowlett led Meeker with 15 points, Matrisciano scored 12 and Crowe finished with 11. Mitch Jacob scored eight, Tyrel Gerloff added five, Joseph Galvin four, while Brock Campbell and Jake Nieslanik each added two.
Meeker has lost twice to the defending state champs, both times the score was 73-56.
“Last time we played them in Grand Valley, they couldn’t miss in the first half,” Kindler said. “We have to do a better job of getting out on their shooters and shoot the ball well.”
Meeker will have to beat the defending state champs and win the district tournament to advance to the regional tournament, as Grand Valley will receive an automatic ticket to the regional tournament for winning the Northwest League.
The tipoff is scheduled for 5 p.m.