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Sports for March 05, 2009

Lady Skins advance

ALAMOSA- La Veta finished third at the district tournament held last weekend at Adams State College.  The victory sends them to the regional tournament tomorrow at 4:00 pm against the Dolores Bears at Durango High School.  The Bears finished first in their district after they upset Mancos.  Dolores entered district play with an 11-10 record while the Skins were 17-2.  For the Bears to advance they need another upset against the number seven team in the state.  La Veta, on the other hand, is looking for some payback after they were upset in their district by the Sangre de Cristo Thunderbirds last Friday, 35-28.

    The Skins opened district play in uncharacteristic fashion playing their worst offensive game of the season.  Their shooting percentage was the lowest of the year and their usual aggressive dominance under the boards fell short.  Shelby Morgan was the high scorer with 13 points.  According to Coach Smith, “We lacked our normal quickness and aggressiveness.”

    They found it the next night as they dismantled the Sargent Farmers 57-34.  The Skins came out running, executing a full- and half-court press to open up a quick lead in the game.  They were able to maintain this pressure the entire game, shutting down the Farmers.  This was the third time in the season that the Skins defeated the Farmers.

    Cara Campbell got her first start of the season in place of Emily Moll who was sick.  She ran the team well from her point guard position.  She scored 3 points for her efforts, but most importantly was her ability to control the tempo of the game and bring the team down court to set up the plays.

    The ladies played well as a team, passing for the open shots.  En route to their victory, Christina Koutnik and Sami Willhoite each had five assists while teammates Campbell and Morgan had three.  Morgan was dominating from the field, scoring 21 while Willhoite hit 19.  The scoring pack included Shea Brgoch (7), Koutnik (6) and Campbell (5).  Morgan pulled down eight boards and Brgoch seven.

    Overall, this victory was a team effort, and the third place finish put the Skins in Region three.  They must defeat the Bears to advance to the ‘Sweet Sixteen’ the next night.  Once there, they will have a tough row to hoe as they will face the winner of the Meeker (15-5) and Resurrection Christian (12-10) game.

Panthers capture 3rd at Districts

FLORENCE- The John Mall Panthers advanced into the regional basketball final 32, with a close win over Fowler last weekend.  The only remaining questions were who their opponents would be and where the game would be played.   They had those questions answered after defeating the Fowler Grizzlies last Saturday night 51-46.

    The Cats’ district action began the night before as they faced league leader, Custer County.  The Bobcats dismantled the Panthers 71-38.  It was a game that saw plenty of mistakes by the young Panther team and a superior offensive blast by their opponents.  It just was not their night.

    The Panthers regrouped the next night as they squared off against Fowler.  The Cats opened up a 10-3 lead, which included a pair of 3-point shots by Jacob Wiggins.  After the teams traded a pair of buckets, the Grizzlies came roaring back with four straight points to cut the gap 12-9.  The Panthers’ offense saw their explosive opening run fade away and Fowler tied it up after one quarter at 12 apiece.

    The Panthers regrouped with a 7-0 run to open the second with great defense and forced turnovers.  The Panthers took control of the game, but their attempts from the three-point circle fell short, allowing the Grizzlies to grab the defensive boards. Fortunately for the Cats, Fowler’s shooting percentage from the field was abysmal, and the Cats maintained their lead.  The Panthers had trouble working the inside, but Charlie Whitehead found net from the outside that gave the Cats a 25-14 lead midway in the second.  The Panthers would hit net one more time in the second going into the locker room at the half leading 28-22.

    The second half proved to be as exciting as the first as both teams traded buckets in the third period, and the Panthers maintained their 6-point lead.  When the fourth opened up, the Grizzlies scored 5 points to pull within one.   On the ensuing play, Panther Steven Rodriquez hit a three, giving the Panthers a 4-point lead.  It would soon fade as the Grizzlies hit from underneath, then again off a steal.  They took the ball down court for a 3-point shot to take the lead for the first time in the game, 45-44 with four minutes remaining. 

    In the end. John Mall controlled the clock, played aggressive ball and hit the shots from the charity line down the stretch to hold on to the close victory

    With the victory, the Panthers will travel to Otero Junior College in La Junta tomorrow to face the Sargent Farmers.  Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.  Sargent placed second in both their league and region.  The Farmers completed the regular season with a 13-6 record.  The only way for the Panthers to gauge their opponent’s strengths is by common opponents.  Sargent defeated La Veta twice this season in commanding fashion, and the Redskins defeated the Cats the two times they met. 

    For the Panthers to keep their dream alive of advancing to the ‘Great 8,’ they need to upset the Farmers, then win the next night against the winner of the Burlington-Byers match.

Redskins finish 3rd at Districts

ALAMOSA- The La Veta Redskins captured third place at districts after they defeated Antonito 65-59 in a game they almost let slip away.  It was only in the final seconds of the game that the winner could be determined.  The victory moves the Skins into regional play in Durango tomorrow evening where they will play Ignacio.  Tip-off is scheduled for 5:30 pm.  Ignacio boasts a 17-2 record.

    After a poor performance against Sanford the night before, the Skins opened up their offense when they faced the Antonito Trojans. The game was a see-saw battle for most of the first three quarters as both teams traded baskets.  With two minutes remaining in the third, Jon Christian hit a three-point bucket giving the Skins the lead, 39-31, as the third quarter was nearing an end.

    In the fourth, the Redskins’ fast-break offense and full-court press managed to stop the Trojan offense. They were able to break the game wide open with a dominating 58-45 lead midway in the final period.   However, La Veta has learned from the past two encounters against the Trojans not to get too comfortable.  On the next down-court pass, Antonito’s Felix Urente went in for two.  An inbound pass from Trey Price was stolen and the Trojans put it in for two.  The next pass was also stolen for two, and in a matter of 10 seconds, Antonito was back in the game 58-51. 

    On the next play, Dalton Mason was called with charging, turning the ball over once again.  Antonito scored, bringing it within 5.  Josiah Christian was fouled on the next play.  He sank both shots and the Skins held a semi-comfortable 7-point lead, 60-53.  A subsequent foul put Christian on the line shooting two.  He missed both.  Off the missed free-throw, a rebounding foul by La Veta  put  Antonito’s Martinez to the line.  He completed one of one bringing the score to 60-54.  An ensuing turnover gave the Trojans two more and a frustrated Redskin offense began to fall apart.

    They turned the ball over again with 55 seconds remaining, but a missed Antonito shot and a Franklin Geiser rebound put the ball back in the hands of the Redskins.  A fast-break pass from down court to Christian who drove the lane for two gave the Skins a 6-point lead once again with 39 seconds left. On the next play Christian fouled Arveta, putting him on the line for two.  His first was good, but the second rimmed out and was rebounded by the Trojans who put in the jump shot with 32 seconds remaining.  La Veta’s 13-point lead dwindled away to three and Antonito was poised for the biggest comeback of the tournament.  The Redskins held on to their lead after a couple of late game fouls iced the Redskin victory. Mason was high scorer with 18, Geiser (17), Josiah Christian (10) and Jon Christian (7).

    For the Redskins to advance to the ‘Sweet Sixteen,’ they need to upset Ignacio.  If the Skins play to their potential and upset the number seven team in the state, they will likely face Plateau Valley, the number five team in the state for the right to move on to the State tournament. If they lose, their season is finished.  They will need a David-versus-Goliath type of victory to move on.  The Skins find themselves in the toughest bracket of the tournament.