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MEEKER | The lady Cowboys lost to their Rio Blanco County rival in league play but won a tie-breaker to enter the District 5 tournament as the number one seed, only to have the Rangely Panthers beat them by one point on a last second shot. The Cowboys will continue their post-season play on the road, while the lady Panthers will host the Region 4 tournament.
Meeker will take a 17-5 record to Clear Creek High School in Idaho Springs to play the Lyons Lions (12-9) in the Region 7 tournament Friday. Host, the Clear Creek Golddiggers (20-2), will play the Custer County Bobcats (11-11), with the winners of Friday’s games playing Saturday for the championship and the opportunity to advance to the 2018 Colorado 2A State Basketball Championships.
Meeker advanced to the district championship game by thumping the Hayden Tigers 66-25 in the quarterfinal round in front of hometown fans before advancing to the semifinals in DeBeque, where the lady Cowboys played and defeated the Vail Christian Saints 53-42.
Team effort was shown in what would be Meeker’s final home game, as 10 girls scored against the Tigers and 12 recorded rebounds. Kenzie Turner was the hot shot, leading the team with 14 points, including four shot from behind the three-point arch, while senior Sierra Williams finished with 12. Tori Lasker scored nine against the Tigers, Gracie Bradfield added eight, Julia Dinwiddie, Kirsten Brown and Ellie Anderson all finished with four points, Matilda Brown made a three-pointer and Brittney Adams made both of the free throws she shot and Megan Shelton also made a basket.
Dinwiddie led the team with seven rebounds, Riley Pertile got in the books with two and Makenna Burke pulled one down. The team stole the ball 23 times from the Tigers, converting several into points.
“Against Vail Christian, the girls came out shooting well from the inside out,” Meeker head coach Jamie Rogers said. “Vail tried to make a couple of runs but the girls maintained and kept control.”
Lasker led the team with 15 points, while Shelton and Dinwiddie both added 12. Shelton hit three,three’s, Dinwiddie sank two from three-point land, while Brown hit another one, as did Bradfield.
The Panthers outscored the Cowboys in all of the first three quarters, taking a 42-32 lead into the final period, when Meeker staged a valiant yet unsuccessful comeback. Dinwiddie, who finished the game with 11 points, made two free throws to give her team a one-point lead with eight seconds left on the clock, which was all Rangely’s senior star Katelyn Brown, who led all scorers with 22 points, needed. Brown drove the length of the court and made a shot from under the basket, with no time on the clock to give the Panthers a one-point victory and district team title.
Shelton scored 18 for Meeker, Lasker also finished with 11, Bradfield had nine and Turner added a basket.
“Rangely was a great game,” coach Rogers said. “We didn’t shoot as well in the first half but they just battled and worked until the very last second.”