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PHS hoopsters perfect in league; move up in polls

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So far, everything is going right for the Paonia High School boys' basketball team.

The Eagles went to Meeker last Friday and won their sixth game in a row after defeating the Cowboys 67-56.

Paonia improved to 12-1 overall and is 6-0 in 1A/2A Western Slope League action. The Eagles went through the first half of the league schedule unbeaten and opened the second half last night at Hotchkiss.

The most recent victory was hard to come by and the Eagles trailed in Meeker 21-18 after the first quarter.

"Meeker came out and they executed really well. They shot the ball really well, which is pretty typical of them in that gym," Paonia coach Chase Roeber said. "Seems like every time we go up there they shoot the ball well."

Paonia took control with a 16-6 second quarter, jumping to a 34-27 lead at halftime.

"At halftime for the most part we talked about being us," Roeber said. "We talked about not letting them control the tempo or the momentum in the game. And trust in each other, that was more or less our halftime talk."

The Eagles limited their turnovers and turned to their leaders in the second half. Colby Simpson led Paonia with 18 points, including two 3-pointers, and Dagan Rienks threw in 15 for the winners.

"Those two offensively are just so dominant," Roeber said. "Colby is such a great shooter, and then Dagan is just so smooth around the rim. He's big enough and strong enough to battle with somebody in the paint, and then he's able to finish with finesse. The two of them are big offensive threats, certainly."

Meeker won the fourth quarter but by then the Eagles' lead was too much to overcome.

"We executed fairly well. We had a few too many turnovers, especially in the first quarter," Roeber said. "We took care of the ball better in the second and third quarters better than any other, and that was really the difference."

Paonia, ranked fifth in 2A, has its next five games in a row at home. The Eagles ran roughshod through league play and are the team to beat.

"We know we have a target on our backs at this point in the season, with what we've done to this point," Roeber said. "So we have to make sure that we stay focused and that we continue to get better each day. The biggest thing is we just have to take care of us."

The Eagles were in Hotchkiss last night and get a rematch with Meeker on Friday in Paonia.

Paonia 74, Meeker 23

The Paonia girls picked up another big win last Friday and improved to 12-1, 6-0 in 1A/2A Western Slope League competition.

Emily Pieper led the way for Paonia with 16 points and five steals. The Eagles led 28-6 after one quarter and had the game wrapped up at halftime with at 51-14 advantage.

Every victory so far this year for Paonia has come by 20 points or more. The Eagles are ranked second in 2A behind No. 1 Yuma, which won the volleyball state championship this year.

Chey Christian scored 15 points in the win, including three 3-pointers. Sophia Anderson netted 12 points for the Eagles.

Paonia was at Hotchkiss last night and hosts Meeker on Friday.

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