Regional champs bound for state

The Meeker High School girls’ basketball team rejoices after a 46-43 victory over the Holyoke Dragons for the regional championship title. They’ll play Del Norte today at 8:45 a.m. in Loveland in the first round of the state tournament.

MEEKER | After a nail biter Saturday against the Holyoke Dragons, the third-ranked lady Cowboys are headed to state.

Coming out on top in districts, Meeker hosted Dolores, Holyoke, and Denver Christian for the regional four-team bracket last weekend.

Games began Friday with the Cowboys winning handily against Dolores 70-12. The girls dominated the entire game and came out early with a 17-point lead in the first quarter, then stretching it even further 39-5 at the half. Tori Lasker, Gracie Bradfield and Julia Dinwiddie paved the way for the 58-point victory with 41 of those points.

Holyoke then played Denver Christian, winning 48-15 leading to the Cowboy and Dragon matchup Saturday.

The gym was packed for a game that began with a nice Cowboy lead.

“Holyoke made it to state last year they came to battle to make it again,” commented head coach Jamie Rogers, “Our team was ready, they have been preparing for this all year and weren’t going to let it slip away.”

The teams went into the locker room with the Cowboys 11 points ahead, 26-15. Holyoke came out after the half ready to battle outscoring the Cowboys in the third quarter and closing the gap to nine points, then narrowing it even further in the fourth quarter by outscoring Meeker in the fourth. The final score fell to the Cowboys favor and they are now part of the 2019 “Elite Eight.”

“Free throws ended up being huge for us,” Rogers said. “Dinwiddie made 10 of 11 and Kenzie Turner came through on those stressful end of game free throws to keep us out of Holyoke’s reach; Bradfield did a great job slowing down their fast guards while Lasker and Shelton had huge rebounds. Another big team win.”

In order of rank, the top eight teams are: Limon, Yuma, Meeker, Wray, Swink, Del Norte, Heritage Christian and Sanford.

Taking a look at the eight remaining teams, Limon (22-1) took their only loss from Kit Carson—an undefeated 1A team who met with another elite eight opponent, Swink, where they came out on top 50-39. Yuma (20-3) has matched up against Wray and the two teams are 1-1, the other two losses came from Kansas and Nebraska. Wray (19-3) took a loss from Yuma and then Holyoke with a final score of 50-44, their third loss also came from across the border in Nebraska. Meeker (22-1) and one of the few teams to not have previously met another elite eight team, will first take on Del Norte. Swink (22-2) suffered losses from Centauri and number one ranked Limon. Del Norte (22-2) had two losses to Sanford, these two teams met each other four times and are 2-2. Heritage Christian (23-1) lost in the regular season to Dawson School with a score of 34-30 but turned it around at regionals to beat the Dawson School 41-29 and earn a trip to Loveland. Sanford (19-4) and ranked seventh because of its strength of schedule, was handed two losses by Del Norte, one by Soroco (50-32) and Centauri.

Del Norte and Meeker will meet up in Loveland, Colo., at the Budweiser Events Center at 8:45 a.m. today. The state tournament is a double elimination bracket with second rounds games all occurring Friday.

By Tiffany Jehorek | Special to the Herald Times