Panthers lose to Tigers on road, beat Rams at home

Panther junior Connor Phelan scored in all four quarters, including four three-pointers and led his team with 25 points against the Rams from South Routt County (Soroco).

Panther junior Connor Phelan scored in all four quarters, including four three-pointers and led his team with 25 points against the Rams from South Routt County (Soroco).
Panther junior Connor Phelan scored in all four quarters, including four three-pointers and led his team with 25 points against the Rams from South Routt County (Soroco).
RANGELY I “This is gonna be one of those games that got away,” Rangely boys’ basketball coach Eric Hejl said about the 42-49 loss in Hayden after his team jumped out to a 20-4 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Panthers took their “frustration” out the next day, when then beat the Soroco Rams from Oak Creek 53-27 on their home court. The Panthers will host Vail Mountain Friday, starting at 5 p.m., then travel to Vail Saturday to play a league game against the Vail Christian Saints.
All five Panther starters, Cory Evans, Chas Byerly, Connor Phelan, Cameron Enterline and Colt Allred, scored in the first quarter to give their team a 20-4 lead after the first eight minutes.
“We had multiple guys hitting shots from different parts of the court so initially we made it really tough for them to defend,” Hejl said. “I knew it was just a matter of time before Hayden made a run because they are a much better team than the first quarter showed but I was hopeful we could keep scoring points to make sure they couldn’t make a comeback.
But they started making a comeback in the second quarter and cut the Panthers’ lead to 10 at halftime.
“Unfortunately, they jumped on us with a press that rattled us a little and we started to turn the ball over and when you give extra possessions to good teams, a lot of bad things can happen. Over the next three quarters they just slowly whittled away at our lead and coming down the stretch in the fourth quarter, they were the team that got the necessary buckets and defensive stops that it takes to win close games. This one is gonna sting for a while.”
The Panthers were outscored 8-16 in the third quarter and 6-15 in the fourth to finish seven points behind the Tigers.
Evans and Enterline finished with 12 points each, Phelan added seven, Allred six and Byerly five.
“We got a chance to take out a little frustration from the night before on Soroco,” Hejl said. “In the first quarter we seemed a little sluggish but by the second quarter, our defense perked up a bit and from there we never looked back.”
Rangely was behind 10-11 at the end of the first quarter before scoring 13 in the second while holding the Rams to only two points, taking a 23-13 lead at halftime.
“Cameron had a couple of monster blocks and played great defense that really took away a lot of their inside game they really lean on and their guards weren’t much happier with the pressure they were getting from Chas, Connor and Luis (Contreras) on the perimeter,” Hejl said. “On the offensive side, Connor was giving them fits,” Hejl said. “If they played him tight, he went by them. If they backed off of him, he was hitting threes over the top of them. When he’s on like that, he is very tough to guard and I’ve been waiting for him to have a game like this and he did.”
Phelan, who scored in every quarter, scored 10 of his game-high 25 points in the third quarter, giving his team a comfortable 36-20 lead going into the final quarter. Phelan hit four, three-pointers in the game, including two in the first quarter two in the third.
Andrew Morton finished with 10 points, Byerly and Enterline each added four, Evans and Contreras both finished with three, while ?? Mecham and ?? Brady each finished with two.
“Overall this weekend left us with a lot of positives and definitely with a little bitter taste after squandering such a great opportunity in Hayden, Hejl said. Ultimately we will learn from our experiences and keep getting better everyday which is what’s been happening for the last couple weeks. We know there is plenty of work to do but if we do that work we also know we will be in a great position to win the games that matter most. We feel confident that our best basketball has yet to be seen.”
Hejl said Saturday’s home game against Vail Christian is “an important league game.”