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RANGELY | The CHSAA preseason boys basketball rankings came out this week with DeBeque pegged as the current class 1A favorite and four Western Slope League members (Vail Christian, Plateau Valley, Meeker and Paonia) receiving votes in the 2A poll.
The Rangely Panthers, fresh off a 5-17 campaign last year, lost seven seniors to graduation. Upon first glance the outlook may not look great for the Panthers. However, a deeper dive into the program looks more hopeful. The Panthers return two players, senior Dylan LeBleu and junior Sydney Cole, who worked their way into last year’s starting rotation. Senior Ethan Byers and junior Gabe Polley both earned varsity minutes last season. Juniors Ryan Richens, Austin Davis and Travis Coates also look to contribute this year. Head coach Kyle Boydstun said,
“We may be a young team, but many of these guys have been active in our summer program and open gyms. They’ve been putting in the work required to improve and I’m excited for them.”
Timothy Scoggins, Ashton Bennett and Keihlin Myers round out the sophomore class, with Scoggins and Myers looking to add depth to the varsity squad. Boydstun and assistant coach Colt Allred are also looking forward to the freshman class, which may feature up to nine fresh faces. “Our freshman are very coachable and work together well. We believe these guys will have a great year playing and developing on the JV team, with a few contributing varsity minutes,” said Boydstun.
While the coaches are beginning the season with hope for the future, Boydstun cautions, “I like what we’ve seen during the first week of practice, but we have to continue to put in the work, find a way to come together as a team, and develop our own identity.”
The Panthers first test will come at the Manila Shootout in Manila, Utah. On Dec. 6, they will take on Intermountain Christian School at 5:30 p.m. and then Dugway on Dec. 7 at 11:30 a.m.
Special to the Herald Times