Panther Junior High Action-Seventh Grade Team Still UNDEFEATED!!
WALSENBURG- The Grizzly boys continued to light up the scoreboard and delight the faithful with a series of games these past two weeks. The team traveled to Las Animas on November 22 to participate in a four-team tournament. The seventh grade boys took first, defeating the Trinidad Miners 36-18 and Swink 43-35. Anthony ‘Tono’ Ortiz was the team’s high scorer in both games scoring 10 and 12 points respectively. Brandon Vigil scored 8 against Trinidad while Isaiah Vigil and Jordon Bobian each hit 8.
The eighth grade team took second, defeating Trinidad but losing to Las Animas.
The next Saturday, the team visited Ward Middle school in Ordway and walked away with a pair of victories. The seventh grade remained undefeated beating Ward MS 42-27. Clayton Berger led all scorers with 10 while teammate Isaiah Vigil hit 9. The eighth graders had an easy victory too, winning 41-15. Their defense was again dominant as they held off Ward. Dylan Tenorio equaled Ward’s total offense hitting 15 points himself. Every player saw action and ended up with a score in the Grizzly victory.
After a long Thanksgiving break, John Mall hosted the Trinidad Miners in what proved to be a key game of the season. The sixth and seventh graders remained undefeated and narrowly escaped a come-from-behind bid by the Miners to spoil the Grizzly’s perfect season. Leading 21-12 at halftime, it looked like easy pickings for John Mall, but a second half surge by the tenacious Miners and a pair of three-point shots brought them back into the game late in the fourth quarter. The Miners tied the game at 40 with 8.3 seconds remaining, looking to pull off a major upset, but the Grizzlies were not to be denied as Isaiah Vigil hit the game winner as the scoreboard read .3 seconds remaining.
What was more important than the win was Coach Vallejos’ confidence in his entire squad, substituting his smaller sixth grade players for most of the fourth quarter, even after the Miner’s comeback. In their victory, Isaiah Vigil hit a season high 19 points while teammate Tono hit 14.
The eighth grade team took to the hardwood hoping to stop the Miners for the second time in as many weeks. The Miners came out seeking revenge and took the Grizzlies to the limit, defeating them 38-37 in a game which saw the Grizzlies come from behind, after trailing 13-7 at the end of one. By half, the gap was narrowed to 22-18. The Miners hit a three-point shot as time expired. The Grizzlies had to play catch up in the second half, but could not pull away to claim victory. In the end, their comeback bid fell short. Dylan Tenorio was high scorer with 10.
Are You Ready…
HUERFANO- The 2008 basketball season is finally here, and it promises to be an exciting year for both the John Mall Panthers and the La Veta Redskins. The Lady Panthers and the Lady Redskins play each other and kickoff the season tonight in a battle for Huerfano County bragging rights. The Skins will host their cross-county rival, the Lady Panthers, in what should be a warm-up for the season. Tip-off is scheduled at 5:00 pm.
For veteran coaches Kent Smith of La Veta and Ray Bustos of Walsenburg, this game will be the culmination of three weeks of preparation for a successful season. La Veta has moved up from A to 2A ball and will be competing in a different district (District 1) than the Panthers. The move up will challenge La Veta, a team up to the task with seniors Shelby Morgan, Shea Brgoch and Emily Moll. Brgoch and Moll are two of the top-rated players in the district and should provide some great competition for the Lady Panthers. If Panthers Kristen David and Katie Monahan can contain those two, then this game will offer some exciting play and a glimpse of the future.
District 1 is up for grabs, with Sargent, Center, Sanford, Antonito and Sangre de Cristo all in line for a playoff spot. Center fields a balanced group of starters with decent size and quick guards. La Veta thinks otherwise. They hope to be the spoilers as the new kids on the block.
The game tonight will have little impact on divisional play but will be more of a confidence builder for both teams. Both the junior varsity and the varsity will see action.
If tonight’s game does not thrill you, do not worry. These two teams will undoubtedly square off again December 11-13 because both teams are participating in the Trinidad State Junior College Tournament.
The Lady Panthers will have an additional game under their belts by then. On Friday, they will travel to Hoehne to face the Farmers. Tip-off for the junior varsity is 4 pm. The varsity plays immediately after.
…For Some Basketball?
HUERFANO- The girls are not the only team to have a claim as Huerfano County’s premiere basketball team. Both John Mall and La Veta boys will travel to Trinidad State Junior College this weekend to participate in the 73rd annual TSJC Invitational. Sixteen teams will vie in two brackets to be crowned champions of their pairings. In the lower bracket, John Mall will play the Bulldogs of Primero beginning at approximately 5:30 pm today, Dec 4. The Redskins will face the Miners of Trinidad High later tonight at 9:30 pm.
These two teams are in opposite brackets and will not have an opportunity to face one another until December 13 when the Skins travel to Walsenburg. The tournament pairings are now posted on our web site at www.huerfanojournal.com and results of our teams’ play will be posted, as they are made available.
La Veta drew the tougher upper bracket that includes Rye, Canon City, and Manitou Springs while the Panthers will face smaller schools like Aguilar, Holy Trinity Academy and three schools from New Mexico. This tournament is one of the most sought after early tournaments of the season that will pit participants from Class A to 3A schools.
The pairings could prove to be advantageous for the Skins, as they will gain the necessary experience they need as they move up to Class 2A and play Division 1 schools. The only schools they are familiar with are the Hoehne Farmers. The Skins may have an opportunity to meet the Farmers in the championship game, assuming both teams win their first two games.
For the Panthers, Primero will be a good warm-up game for Coach Harriman’s mostly junior and sophomore team. Sierra Grand is the second largest school in the pairings and a John Mall – Sierra Grand championship is likely.
La Veta has a new coach, Wade Kreutzer, who will present a different style of offense to accommodate the faster style of play the Redskins will need to utilize as they enter 2A play. For Coach Harriman, he too will be developing a new style offense. Harriman is the veteran coach and is bringing his experience to the Panther court which could be just the advantage the Cats need. This tournament will be exactly what the coaches need to ready their teams for the new season. Both teams will promise excitement and a faster paced game this season, and this weekend’s games will be pivotal to a successful season.