The Paonia girls basketball team starts the new year with a 4-2 overall record. The Lady Eagles were 2-1 to place third at the Holy Family Tiger Tip-Off tournament Dec. 12-14 in Broomfield.
This is the second year Paonia competed in the mostly Class 3A tournament. Paonia's only loss was to the Class 3A state runner-up, St. Mary's. The three-day trip was worth the effort, said head coach Scott Rienks.
The girls led most of the game in their tournament-opening, 36-33 win over Valley (3A Patriot League). The defense used fouls to force turnovers down the stretch, recovering and securing the ball in the final seconds for the win, said Rienks.
In their day two, 36-32 loss to St. Mary's, Paonia led most of the way. Point guard Carson Pipher got into foul trouble and was benched the last minutes of the third quarter and the first three or four minutes of the fourth period, said Rienks.
While they rely heavily on Pipher, the Lady Eagles were down by only a point when she returned to the game. She committed her fifth foul to stop the clock late in the game.
"What the girls really wanted was to beat St. Mary's so they could get a shot at Holy Family," said Rienks of the defending 3A state champions. Holy Family swept the tournament and won its three games by an average of 37 points.
Paonia ended with a 54-48 win over Grand Valley to place third. Pipher and Braiden Clement each scored 15 points in the win.
The Lady Eagles ended the year on a high note, opening the First Colorado National Bank Delta County tournament with a 38-35 win over Cedaredge. With a new head coach and a strong group of underclassmen, Rienks said he wasn't surprised by their level of competition.
Paonia upset Delta, 40-34, to win the tournament for the first time in four years. Rienks said the girls hadn't been shooting well until the final game — an improvement he hopes will continue into the new year.
Paonia was scheduled to open the new year against Hotchkiss, but the games were moved to Jan. 21. The Lady Eagles will travel to Rangely (7-1, 0-1) this Friday and host their first home game of the season Saturday against Meeker (3-1).blog comments powered by Disqus