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RBC — The two Rio Blanco County girls basketball teams played against each other in the final week of the regular season and were matched up in the first round of the district tournament. The second game was closer but the outcome was the same.
Meeker defeated Rangely 47-35 last Saturday on its home court, advancing to the semifinals of the district tournament and ending the season for the young lady Panthers.
The game was closer than the final score indicated. The teams were tied at eight after the first quarter and at 23 at halftime.
“Rangely played a good game,” Meeker’s head coach Hallie Blunt said. “They played Marki (Cook) and Amanda (Bain) well and we couldn’t get in the flow of running, then we missed a lot of shots. The girls never got nervous though, they remained confident and just kept fighting.”
Rangely’s head coach Jimmie Mergelman used the league game to prepare for the district match-up but her young team couldn’t pull off the upset.
“We knew we had to play a good game and what we had to work on to win,” Mergelman said. “We did everything we needed to until there was 2-1/2 minutes to play. Our youngness showed through, we made a couple of mistakes and then we had to foul.”
Meeker scored three more than Rangely in the third quarter to take a 34-31 lead into the final eight minutes and made seven of nine free throws in the fourth quarter to put the game away to advance and end the season for Rangely.
Mergelman’s youngest sister, Erin Watson, was the only senior to play Saturday (senior Kirstin Cushman was injured earlier in the season), when Mergelman said at times she had four freshmen and a sophomore on the floor.
“I’m real excited for next year,” Mergelman said. “We were a real young team this year and will return a lot of players next year.”
Watson and freshman Patricia Phelan each scored 13 points, with Phelan gathering 13 rebounds and Watson nine. Torrie Slagle added four, while Heather Wanstedt and Audrey Hogan each added two and Marie Morton finished with one.
Janae Kindall led the lady Cowboys with 11 and Cook also finished in double figures with 10. Jessica Rodebaugh, Sydney Cook and Kiandra Ross all scored six each, Bain finished with five and Stacey Fitzgibbons added three.
Meeker will play the Eagles in Paonia Friday at 6:30 p.m. The Eagles beat Meeker in league play.
“If they play like they can, they’ll be successful,” Blunt said.