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RANGELY I “We had a tough matchup right out of the gate,” Rangely boys’ basketball coach Eric Hejl said of the first round of the White River Electric Cowboy Shootout. The Rangely boys’ team opened the season against the 3A Grand Valley Cardinals and lost 53-28.
“We’re young, with new coaches, new players and a new offense, so we have a lot to go over and install in short amount of time,” Hejl said of the first game of the season.
Seniors Caleb Templeton and Kacey Denny scored all but five of the Panthers’ points against the Cardinals. Denny hit two, three-pointers and finished with nine points, while Templeton, who recently transferred to Rangely, also hit a three-pointer in the first quarter and finished with 14. “Caleb had three double/doubles (at least 10 points and 10 rebounds), he came in and became the glue for us and is providing senior leadership,” Hejl said. Junior Ethan Peacock added three and sophomore William Scoggins scored two against the Cardinals.
The Panthers picked up the pace in the second half of the second game, knotting up the score late in the fourth quarter but unable to get the win against the Mancos Bluejays.
“I thought we were going to win that one,” Hejl said of the game against Mancos. “We were all over the place in the first half, then switched to zone in the second half and we were definitely more confident running a zone.”
The Panthers fell behind 10-16 after the first quarter, were down 12 at halftime and down 10 going into the final eight minutes.
“They had a buzzer beater at the end of the first half and another at the end of the third for five total points and we end up losing by four,” Hejl said. Freshman Cameron Enterline hit two three-pointers to start Rangely’s comeback in the fourth quarter, Templeton also added six and Kody Denny a three-pointer to help tie the game at 55, with three minutes to play.”
“Cameron stepped up and hit two big threes and brought us back in it,” Hejl said. “It was the best game of the tourney for us, other than we couldn’t make a shot late in the game.” Templeton led the Panthers with 18 points against the Bluejays, Enterline finished with 13 and Kody Denny had 10. Sophomore Chaz Byerly scored eight, Scoggins and Peacock each had two and Kacey Denny made a free throw.
Rangely played Shining Mountain in the final game of the tournament and again fell behind early. The Panthers trailed by nine at halftime and although they outscored their opponent by two in the third, they lost 33-44. “We’ve got to stop digging holes early in the game and we’ll be alright,” Hejl said of his team’s performance.
“I want us to show improvement each game and we did that. I’m happy with our progress, we just need to learn how to win.”