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MEEKER — The Cowboys concluded the regular season last Saturday with only one blemish on its record.
Meeker’s boys’ basketball team will enter district play Saturday with an 18-1 overall record and a league-leading 7-0 mark.
“In my 11 years, this is the best record we’ve had going into districts,” said Coach Klark Kindler.
Last season, the Cowboys were 14-5 at this time, and finished fourth in the Western Slope League.
The only loss for the Cowboys came after the Christmas break against league opponent Plateau Valley, though it was a non-league game.
Last Saturday, Meeker jumped out to an early lead in a 69-46 win against Paonia.
“I think we scored the first eight or 10 points of the game,” said Kindler, whose team led 24-5 after the first quarter.
Once again, a balanced scoring attack ignited the Cowboys. Mitch Jacob led the way with 20 points, followed by Brian Crowe with 17 and Colton Brown added 12 points. Brown also finished in double figures in rebounds with 11, and Jacob had nine. Brock Campbell had a team-high five assists.
“We have five or six guys who can get us double figures on any night,” Kindler said. “That’s the thing that has probably helped us to be a little better than everyone else.”
Three Meeker players are averaging in double figures for the season. Going into the game against Paonia, Dakota Rowlett led the Cowboys with a 14.5 scoring average, followed by Jacob at 12.1 and Crowe at 11.9. Rowlett missed the last three games for disciplinary reasons.
The league has also been balanced, Kindler said.
“Really the top four teams are all pretty balanced, actually, the top five,” Kindler said. “Our league is competitive every year.”
Meeker will host league foe West Grand at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, a team the Cowboys beat twice during the regular season.
The Cowboys will be at home the following week, too, hosting the district semifinals Feb. 27 and 28, with three other league teams participating.
“It’s real important (to do well) at the district semifinals, to help your seeding for the regional tournament the following week,” Kindler said. “It’s brand new the way we’re doing it this year. It used to be the top two teams came out of district (and advanced to regionals). This year, all four teams will go to regionals. That’s a new format for us.”
And that’s why seeding is important, Kindler said.
“If you finish first or third at district, you go to Grand Junction,” Kindler said. “If you finish second, you go to Durango, and if you finish fourth, you go to Denver.”
Paonia 5 16 7 18 – 46
Meeker 24 17 19 9 – 69
Jacob 8-1-2-1-20, Brown 6-0-1-0-12, Nieslanik 2-0-0-0-2, Gerloff 3-0-0-0-6, Campbell 0-0-2-1-1, Crowe 5-2-2-1-17, Matrisciano 2-1-3-1-8, Kilduff 0-0-0-0-0, Wix 0-0-2-0-0, Bullard 0-0-0-0-0, Morris 0-0-2-1-1. Totals 26-4-14-5-69