Panthers split games with Vail

RHS Senior Cory Evans (4) making a shot against Vail Mountain.

RHS Senior Cory Evans (4) making a shot against Vail Mountain.
RHS Senior Cory Evans (4) making a shot against Vail Mountain.
RANGELY I Vail Mountain High School’s boys’ basketball team traveled to Rangely last Friday and the Panthers traveled to play Vail Christian last Saturday. The Panthers defeated Vail Mountain 65-40 in front of a hometown crowd but lost to Vail Christian 48-62 on the road and will now prepare for two more league games this weekend, hosting Paonia Friday for senior night and traveling to Hotchkiss Saturday.
Connor Phelan scored 11 points in the first quarter, including one from behind the three-point arc to give his team a 15-8 lead after the first quarter. Chas Byerly added two three-pointers and a basket in the second quarter, after which the Panthers led 37-23.
“In the first half we were a little sluggish but we were able to do enough offensively to have a double digit lead at halftime,” head coach Eric Hejl said. “Connor really did a good job of getting our offense going by scoring early and then getting teammates involved later on. In the third quarter we turned it up defensively and that allowed us to get all 14 guys some playing time in the fourth quarter.”
Phelan led the team with 19 points and sophomore Mitchell Webber finished with nine. Byerly scored eight, Colt Allred added seven, while Luis Contreras, and Andrew Morton each finished with six. Cameron Enterline and Layne Mecham each scored four and Cory Evans added a basket to round out the scoring for the Panthers.
The Panthers started out slow again against Vail Christian last Saturday and although they played better in the second half, they were unable to comeback.
“Shots weren’t falling and we weren’t getting back on defense, which led to way to many easy transition baskets for them,” Hejl said. “For whatever reason our energy just wasn’t there and we weren’t able to get any momentum to help get us jump started.
Phelan led the Panthers again, this time with 16 points, Evans added seven, while Enterline and Morton each finished with six. Jake Massey scored five, Byerly, Contreras and Allred all finished with two each.
“This is definitely a week we need to refocus and reenergize because the next three games are going to go a long ways in determining seeding for the district tournament,” Hejl said of the home game against Paonia this Friday, Hotchkiss Saturday and in Meeker the following week in the last game of the regular season.
“We finish the regular season on the road in Meeker, which will undoubtedly be a huge game for both teams,” Hejl said.