Meeker girls make it to Sweet 16

First-year Meeker girls’ basketball coach Jamie Rogers, assistants Lori Chintala and Hallie Blunt, team members Sierra Williams, Gracie Bradfield, Peyton Burke, Kenzie Turner, Maggie Phelan, Tilly Brown, Tori Lasker, Halle Ahrens, Megan Shelton, Julia Dinwiddie, Anna Walsh and Reese Pertile, and team managers Charlie Rogers and Cade Blunt, advanced to the Sweet 16, where they lost to the Del Norte Tigers in the regional championship game. Meeker will graduate six seniors but return seven underclassmen, including four sophomores and two freshmen with varsity and playoff experience to next year’s team. Bobby Gutierrez photo
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MEEKER | “This season was so fun,” Meeker High School girls’ basketball coach Jamie Rogers said after coaching her team to the 2A Sweet 16. The Meeker girls advanced to the Western Slope Regional tournament in Gunnison where they defeated Ridgeway but lost to Del Norte in the championship game, where only the winner qualified for the 2017 2A Colorado State Basketball Championships.
Meeker finished the season with a 14-10 record, second in the Northwest League, second at District and second at the Western Slope state-qualifying regional tournament.
“All 25 girls worked hard and everyone played such an important role in the team’s achievements,” coach Rogers said.
In the regional playoff game against the Ridgeway Demons, all 12 of Meeker’s varsity players earned post-season experience, they all played their roles and they all scored in the victory, which moved the lady Cowboys into the Colorado 2A Sweet 16.
“I was so proud of the girls last weekend,” coach Rogers said. “With a big win over Ridgeway, a game where every player on our team scored, we moved into the Sweet 16.”
Meeker was led by six seniors and as she did all season, Meeker senior Reese Pertile led the lady Cowboys with 19 points and pulled down six rebounds against the Demons. Senior Halle Ahrens scored 12, while classmates Peyton Burke scored, Maggie Phelan and Anna Walsh each added three (senior Brooke Ford is not on the varsity roster).
“Maggie, Reese, Peyton, Halle, Anna and Brooke all brought such unique strengths to our team and they were so welcoming to a new coaching team this year,” coach Rogers, who was assisted by Hallie Blunt and Lori Chintala, said. “They were fantastic leaders, showing our underclassmen what a high school team is meant to be.”
Sierra Williams, Meeker’s only junior on the varsity against Ridgeway, scored two points and had two steals. Meeker sophomores Megan Shelton and Tori Lasker each scored six, Gracie Bradfield added four and Kenzie Turner scored two. Freshmen Julia Dinwiddie and Tilly Brown each gained valuable varsity experience and each added to Meeker’s win by scoring six and two points, respectively.
The victory over Ridgeway matched Meeker against the Del Norte Tigers (21-2) in the Western Slope regional championship game, with only the winner advancing to the state tournament.
“Against Del Norte, we couldn’t get in any kind of flow in the first quarter,” coach Rogers said of the 50-33 loss. “We had early fouls on defense, rushed our shots on offense and just couldn’t recover.”
Ahrens led the team with 10 points and had four steals. Shelton and Lasker each added five, Turner scored four, Burke made a three-pointer, while Phelan, Pertile and Dinwiddie each added a basket.
Coach Rogers was again thankful to her seniors and excited about working towards next season.
“While we will miss our seniors, I can’t wait to see what they accomplish,” Coach Rogers said. “I am excited to follow them and others in track and field, then we will play a little basketball this summer.”