A busy week for the No. 2 Paonia girls' basketball team started as usual with some big wins but ended with an extremely unusual loss at home.
With three games left on their schedule before Districts, all at home, the Eagles are 14-2 overall and are 8-1 in 1A/2A Western Slope League action.
Paonia hosts Rangely on Friday and Caprock on Saturday.
Bruins 42, Eagles 40
Cedaredge shocked Paonia at home last Saturday afternoon, pulling the game out at the end after Paonia led the entire way.
"They played physical, they played more aggressive," Paonia coach Scott Rienks said. "We just didn't execute right. We didn't run our offense the right way, we didn't run our defense."
Sophia Anderson's 3-point play put Paonia ahead 12-9 after the first quarter, but a theme was developing as the teams were whistled for a combined 13 fouls in the first session.
Paonia hit 10 fouls in the game well before halftime, giving Cedaredge the bonus at the free-throw line. Even more fouls were called in the second half and the squads combined for a whopping 51 free throws in the contest.
"At one point I have my two leading scorers sitting on the bench," Rienks said. "So you know, it's kind of hard when that happens. But it's basketball."
Paonia senior Ashley Van Vleet waged a thrilling one-on-one battle in the post with Bruins counterpart Hannah Gilmore. The two each poured in a game-high 15 points, but both also spent significant time on the bench with foul trouble.
Anderson, Paonia's leading scorer, was held to five points before fouling out with over two minutes remaining. Emily Pieper scored eight in the loss and Chey Christian sank a 3-ball that tied the game, 40-40, but Cedaredge senior Nellie Freeman drove the floor and assisted Gilmore on the winning layup with five seconds left.
Van Vleet had two chances from the post in the tense final seconds, but Gilmore defended, and the Bruins held on to win.
"They came out and played. Nellie (Freeman) played like I know she's capable of, she's a heck of a player, and she hit some big 3's for them," Rienks said. "They did some things that they needed to do and we didn't execute. It's pretty hard when there's no flow. But it is what it is."
Paonia 60, Meeker 32
The night before, Paonia got scoring from the usual suspects and dominated against the Cowboys.
Sophia Anderson poured in 22 points for the winners, who led 19-4 after the first quarter and 38-14 at halftime.
Ashley Van Vleet chipped in 12 points for the Eagles and Chey Christian scored 11, including three 3-pointers for Paonia.
Paonia 60, HHS 10
The Eagles started out their week with their second big win over North Fork Valley rival Hotchkiss last Tuesday.
Paonia jumped on the Bulldogs and put the game away early, leading 19-0 after one quarter and 30-5 at the intermission.
Ashley Van Vleet led all scorers in the game with her 16 points.
Brittany Kendall scored nine and Emily Pieper was next for Paonia with eight points in the win.