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RANGELY I There was a lot riding on the outcome of the Panthers’ final regular-season game. And none of it went Rangely’s way.
The Panthers lost the regular-season finale at Plateau Valley last Friday 77-65. So, instead of potentially finishing as high as third in the league, the Panthers ended up eighth.
The loss means Rangely will face county rival and No. 2-ranked Meeker in the first round of the district tournament Saturday on the Cowboys’ home court. Game time is 2:30 p.m.
“It wasn’t the best draw,” Rangely coach Mark Skelton said of the prospect of playing league champion and undefeated Meeker for the third time this season. “But that’s basketball.”
In the previous two meetings this season, the Panthers lost big both times — 77-39 and 72-49.
“We’re gonna prepare for them the best we can, and we’ll see what happens,” Skelton said. “We’ll try to come up with some kind of defensive plan to hold them down.”
Defensively, the Panthers will have to play better than they did last Friday.
“Our defense … we allowed too many easy baskets,” Skelton said. “We got lost on defense. They got too many back doors on us.”
Going into the game, the Panthers were in the thick of things — literally. A win could have meant an upper-tier finish in the league for Rangely.
“We would have been at least fourth, maybe third,” Skelton said. “There were six teams all within one game of each other. This was almost the worst-case scenario. It just didn’t play out very well.”
“We knew what we were up against, but the kids just didn’t come out ready to play,” Skelton said. “We were hoping that things would have turned out better.”