A 23-point second half, 13 steals, and the team's highest field goal percentage of the season resulted in a 41-31 loss for the Paonia girls basketball team last Wednesday to visiting Grand Valley. The 3A Cardinals were 10-3 going into the game, and the 2A Eagles 4-10.
To lose by 10 to Grand Valley demonstrates that the team is improving, said head coach Scott Rienks. Paonia lost by 23 points to 3A Coal Ridge (9-5), Grand Valley won by 13 over Coal Ridge. "We're getting better."
Carly Horn, who was named Paonia's player of the game, scored a team-high 12 points, all from the three-point line; Poppy Lightfoot scored four goals and nine points. On defense, Lightfoot and sophomore Taneal Mautz each had five rebounds, and sophomore point guard Tawny Roberts had three deflected passes and made four of the team's 13 steals.
The Eagles finished the week with losses to two of the top three teams in 2A/1A WSL standings. On Friday, No. 2 Soroco (14-2, 7-1) defeated Paonia, 57-24. On Saturday, Paonia was outscored by No. 3 North Park (11-3, 6-2), 66-33.
With one senior and three juniors, Paonia anticipated a tough season. Three games remain in regulation play. "Our goal right now is to cut down on mistakes, not to worry as much about the other team as we are worrying about ourselves," said Rienks. The most important thing is that the team "remains positive and is always working to get better. We have expectations, but our expectations right now are to just shoot for the end of the year."
Paonia hosts Vail Christian (9-7, 4-4) at 5:30 p.m. Friday night, and plays at Rangely (6-8, 2-4) Saturday afternoon.