Photo by Tamie Meck Paonia’s Taylor Plymale (20) cuts off Kylie Hodges of Hotchkiss as she looks to move the ball ahead during the First Colorado National Bank Tournament held in Delta on Dec. 21-22.The Lady Eagles opened the Delta County Classic tournament with a 49-36 win over Hotchkiss. While 13 points may seem like a big loss, consider that the Lady Bulldogs opened last season with a 40-point loss to Paonia.
Under new head coach Eric Hollembeak and in its first season in class 2A, Hotchkiss ended the tournament in third at 1-1 and with a 6-2 record.
They trailed Paonia by three at the half.
Led by Carson Pipher with four, Paonia put up a quick eight points. Katie Richards put Hotchkiss on the board, hitting two from the free-throw line halfway through the period. Annavah Kropp scored a three-pointer for Paonia, and forward Abby Campbell made a clean shot from the three line to give Paonia a 14-2 lead.
Bulldog shots started dropping, and Hotchkiss ended the period with unanswered goals by Daryl Batt, Alexis Westergren and Natalie Anderson, who hit a jump shot at the buzzer. Hotchkiss trailed 16-8 at the end of the first period.
Marissa Cantrell opened the second period with two points for Hotchkiss, and Richards added two more from the paint to bring Hotchkiss to within four. The Lady Bulldog defense held Paonia to just five points and two field goals in the second period. Hotchkiss benefited from a low shooting percentage by Paonia, and took advantage of fouls to shoot four points from the line, narrowing Paonia's halftime lead to three (21-18).
Chelsy Reed had a scoreless first half, but came to life in the second to score a game-high 13 points and opening the third period with a three-pointer.
Hotchkiss trailed, 40-25, at the end of the third. Batt and Anderson put four points on the board. Paonia opened up the press and Mandy Bushta scored two, followed by two field goals and another three-pointer from Reed. Hotchkiss trailed by 20 when Paonia retired its starters.
Hotchkiss and Paonia will meet again, and will open the new year with a Jan. 5 game at Paonia.