EDWARDS — Death, taxes and Vail Christian boys basketball has an offense.
These are inevitable elements of the human experience, along with a Moritz in blue and white knocking down the 3 ball.
The Saints jumped out to a 32-15 halftime lead against Rangely and never looked back in a 57-34 win on Friday night at the Wheeler Athletic Center to move to 2-0 in the 2A Western Slope.
The $64,000 question for Saints basketball is always defense. So far, so good there.
“I thought we did a good job executing our defense,” Saints coach Sheldon Kuhns said. “We had help on their big guys. We did a good job through the rebound, which starts us forward.”
Dating back to the likes of Robby Bowles, the backcourt is always in good hands. Friday night, Jamison Lee and Alec Moritz were in fine form. Jamison Lee, 12 points on the evening, looked like he was shot out of cannon, with two early steal-and-layup combos.
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Moritz got going, courtesy of a nifty feed from Tommy O’Neil. That was a layup, but junior Moritz (16 points) heated up with two shots from beyond the arc during the second quarter.
Inside, the Saints have Zach McKeever, the team’s lone remaining starter from last season, was on his merry way with 13 points. Along with O’Neil, and E.J. Koller (who displayed his speed Friday), Vail Christian (4-4 overall and 2-0 in league) has some good size, which will help the team as it progresses through the 2A Slope.
While the points are nice, the big figure of Friday night was 34 points allowed. The Saints were up by as much as 45-17 in the third quarter.
“I think we’re a versatile team,” Kuhns said. “Zach’s a post player, but can shoot the 3. Alec, obviously, is a great offensive player, but he’s really defensive minded, and you go on down the line.”
By the fourth quarter, Kuhns started substituting liberally. Saints freshman Vinny Nowicki was the triumphant hero of the late minutes with a 3-point play.
Saints get first league win
Yes, “good team win” is a copyrighted phrase of Sheldon Kuhns, but it really applied to Vail Christian girls basketball during its 40-34 win over Rangely on Friday night.
There were just so many heroines as the Saints picked up their first 2A Slope victory of the season.
“I felt this was the first game we played like a team,” Saints coach Cynthia Robinson said.
Saints senior Sarah Heredia had struggled all game with her shot, but had seven big points during the fourth quarter, including what would be the game-winning layup with 2:54 left in the game for a 35-34 lead at the time.
“Sarah’s shot was off, but she kept her head in the game,” Robinson said.
On the defensive end of the court, Grace McCurdy, playing with four fouls during the final stanza, had clutch rebounds ending Rangely possessions, as did Mari Engleby.
“Their rebounding was unbelievable,” Robinson said. “They wanted this game.”
Speaking of Engleby, the junior, along with sophomore Zoey Barela sank clutch free throws during the final minute.
And don’t forget Abby Kuhns, who led the Saints (4-4, 1-1) with 14.
During the first half, Vail Christian was powered by Kuhns and Barela, who finished with nine points.. Sarah Heredia to Kuhns twice followed by a Kuhns 3 in the first quarter erased a 5-0 Panthers’ lead.
The Saints’ Engleby got in on the action with a layup for 9-7 first-quarter lead. Barela poured in two from downtown at the end of the second to send the Saints into the break with a 19-14 lead.
Vail Christian’s squads are heading to Meeker today to continue 2A Slope play.