This Paonia girls basketball story missed last week's deadline and is an addition to this week's stories.
The Eagles held on to beat Olathe 50-43 last Tuesday in the Paonia gym, beating the Pirates for only the second time in the last ten years.
"They're one of the best coached teams in the state," Eagles coach Scott Rienks said about the 3A Pirates. "Paul (Althaus) year in and year out has probably the best defense we'll face all year. I respect him more than most coaches I go against because I know every single year, it doesn't matter how many kids he graduates, he's always going to have a great team."
The visitors took an 11-10 lead after the first quarter, attacking the basket and playing physical defense against the Eagles.
"We felt like our offense was giving us looks, we just weren't knocking them down. But we also knew that we had to pick up our pressure a little bit," Rienks said.
Paonia got its offense working in the second quarter and took a 25-19 lead into halftime. Olathe came out of the break with a determined defensive effort, holding Paonia to just four points from Emily Pieper in the third quarter and taking a 35-29 lead into the fourth frame.
But the Eagles owned the fourth quarter, 21-8, and scored the last six points of the game from the free throw line to hold on for the victory.
"They were taking Sophie (Anderson) away. Teams are going to do that. They were making sure she couldn't penetrate," Rienks said. "But then we got our weave going and pretty soon we'd get a wide open look."
Pieper was all over the floor, getting five steals and throwing in a game-high 19 points.
"Emily got some run outs and some layups that got us going offensively," Rienks said. "McKenna Hartigan was phenomenal tonight. She missed some shots but her effort was huge. Kas (Kassidy Rapke) came off the bench and played great defense.
"And that's what they know," Rienks added. "When they come in, they have to play great defense first and I think we got better at that tonight."
Anderson managed to score 14 points for Paonia despite being double-covered all night. Hartigan netted 11 points for the winners, Brittany Kendall scored five and Rapke hit a bucket to round out the Eagles scoring.
Olathe was paced by 14 points from Miranda Pacheco. Kacy Henwood scored 10 and played a tough physical game for the Pirates and Shaylee Hancock also scored 10 points for the losers. Olevia Pacheco netted nine points, all in the second half, to complete Olathe's scoring in the contest.
Rienks said the Eagles have to work on consistency here in the early part of the season.
"We're trying to learn the game, to play the game the right way as far as not forcing shots, play within ourselves, take care of what we are capable of doing and not forcing things," he said. "This was by far the best team we've played but we got better."
Eagles 65, Titans 19
Paonia improved to 4-0 to start the season with a big win on the road last Friday.
The Eagles did not allow 3A Coal Ridge to score double digits in any quarter. Paonia led 18-5 after the first and was in control 41-7 at halftime.
Paonia played in last weekend's First Colorado National Bank basketball tournament in Delta and won the team title with a pair of victories (see related story in today's DCI).
The Eagles are off for Christmas break and will take the floor again on Jan. 6 at home against Plateau Valley.