Panthers have deja vu

Rangely sophomore Cameron Enterline was the only basketball player from Rio Blanco County to compete in the slam dunk contest in the WREA Cowboy Shootout.

Rangely sophomore Cameron Enterline was the only basketball player from Rio Blanco County to compete in the slam dunk contest in the WREA Cowboy Shootout.
RANGELY I “The first two games were like a deja vu from last year — same song, same dance,” Rangely boys’ basketball coach Eric Hejl said of his team’s start in the White River Electric Cowboy Shootout.
The Panthers played and lost to Grand Valley in the opening game of the Cowboy Shootout last year. This year they had the same results against the Cardinals with a 29-60 loss in the first game of the season for the Panthers.
After a first-round loss, teams move into the consolation bracket where the Panthers played and lost to Shining Mountain (a charter school from the Boulder area) last year and last Saturday.
“It’s like deja vu all over again,” as the late, great Yogi Berra once said.
Last year, the Panthers lost all three of their games in the Cowboy Shootout, yet this year Rangely finished the tournament on a winning note by beating Crested Butte in its final game.
The Panthers did not have a game under their belts or scrimmage before playing the 3A Cardinals.
“Having no games before hurt us because game speed is different,” Hejl said.
Against Shining Mountain, the Panthers fell behind early, trailing 45-16 at halftime, with nine points coming from Cameron Enterline’s three point shooting ability. The Panthers outscored Shining Mountain 22-10 in the third quarter but it was too little, too late as they lost 47-72.
“The second half of the second game was our best half of basketball but we were down too much to dig out of it,” Hejl said.
Ethan Peacock led the Panthers with 15 points, Kody Denny added 12 and Cameron Enterline scored 11. Cory Evans scored three and Gabe Garcia added two.
“We had good scoring balance and it will become a strength as the season progresses,” Hejl said.
The Panthers finished the tournament strong, with a 51-42 victory over Crested Butte, where all eight varsity players scored. Rangely controlled the game from the start, jumping out to a 13-5 lead after the first quarter and leading 29-15 at halftime. The Panthers were outscored in the third but never gave up the lead.
Andrew Morton led the Panthers with 14 points, Connor Phelan finished with 10, Denny and Peacock each added eight and Enterline seven. Gabe Garcia, Mason Fortunato and Evans all scored two.
Hejl said his team would need to “have our track shoes on,” as Rangely travels to Baggs, Wyo., Friday to play the Cowboy Shootout champions, the Little Snake Rattlers, followed by a league game in Vail Saturday against Vail Christian.