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RANGELY | Basketball season is once again in full force as Rio Blanco County rivals squared off against each other on Friday, Jan. 29, in Meeker High School’s new gym. The lady Panthers enter the 2021 season with an overhaul of the team they put on the floor from the previous season. Rangely returns only two varsity starters: juniors Adelynn Halcomb and Mary Scoggins. Filling in the new varsity starting spots are senior Dixie Rhea and freshmen Ryann Mergelman and Annika Cantrell. Also playing varsity this year are senior Maya Mercado and freshmen Kastyn Dembowski and Morgan Ellis.
The much-anticipated tip-off for both teams began with the Panthers jumping out to an 11-0 lead in the first two minutes of the first quarter and they never surrendered the lead. Leading the Panthers in scoring with six points was Mary Scoggins, followed by Annika Cantrell with four points. Adelynn Halcomb, Dixie Rhea, and Ryann Mergelman added two points each to round out the scoring for the Panthers. Cantrell controlled the rebounds with force in the first quarter with six rebounds.
The Cowboys were able to bring the score to within 10 points at the halftime break with the Panthers leading 35-25. The first-half scoring saw two juniors trading buckets, with Rangely’s Scoggins scoring nine points and Meeker’s Sarah Kracht scoring 13 points. Mercado scored her first four points in the program along with Dembowski scoring her first four points as well. Cantrell continued her rebounding dominance as she added four more rebounds to bring her total to 10 rebounds in the first half.
Scoggins and Kracht continued to push each of their teams in scoring as Scoggins added six points and Kracht added four. Cantrell continued to bring rebounds down for the Panthers as she added five more to total 15 on the night so far. The Panthers outscored the Cowboys 12-10 in the third quarter to push the score to 47-35 at the end of the third quarter.
The fourth quarter continued to be fast-paced like the rest of the game and Scoggins stayed hot for the Panthers as she added eight more points to bring her total to 23 for the night. Scoggins ended the night with 11 rebounds for her first double-double of the season. Scoggins also accumulated three steals and three assists to add to her stats for the game. Cantrell added six more points and three more rebounds to also earn herself a double-double as she ended the game with 14 points and 18 rebounds. The Panthers closed out the game with a 64-48 win to start their 2021 season 1-0.
Rangely squared off against the Soroco Rams on Saturday, Jan. 30 in Rangely. This was the first back-to-back games for both the Panthers and the Rams as is accustomed in Western Slope 2A league play. The Panthers jumped out to an 11-8 lead at the end of the first quarter. Halcomb led the Panthers in scoring in the first quarter with five points along with two points from Mergelman, Scoggins and Cantrell. The Rams were able to turn up their scoring and their stifling defensive style as they took a 25-18 lead over the Panthers into halftime. Unfortunately, the Panthers were not able to retake the lead and fell to the Rams 32-43. This was a non-league game between the two teams as they will match up again in Oak Creek on Feb. 27 for the league showdown.
The leading scorers for the Panthers were Halcomb with 16 points, Cantrell with eight, Scoggins with four, Mergelman and Mercado each with two. Cantrell came close to another double-digit game for rebounds as she pulled down nine for the Panthers.
The Panthers will continue their 2021 schedule as they will travel to take on the Vail Christian Saints in a non-league game on Tuesday, Feb. 2. They will then host the Hayden Tigers on Thursday, Feb. 4 for their first league game. The Panthers will head to Kremmling on Friday, Feb. 5, for their second league game.