The Paonia boys have worked their way into the top three of 2A District 5 standings and are looking to make the most of it with the playoffs looming in the future.
Paonia is 9-2 in league play and 12-6 overall. Last week's visit to Meeker resulted in one of the two league losses the Eagles show in standings.
Paonia's girls are 7-3 and 11-6 in 2A District 5 standings and found Meeker's lineup last Friday to be equally tough in a 46-28 loss. Meeker currently rests in the number three spot in 2A District 5 standings with 9-1 and 14-4 records. Soroco leads the league race at 10-0 and 15-3 with Rangely in second place at 9-1 and 15-3. Vail Christian (7-3, 13-4) is fourth and the Eagles are fifth with Hotchkiss resting in sixth (4-6, 8-9).
Meeker 69, Paonia 54
Had the Eagles played four strong offensive quarters the outcome of this contest might have been different. A 22-8 first quarter went to the host Cowboys last Friday night with that deficit impacting the game's outcome.
Meeker's Doak Mantle dumped in nine points and teammate Zach Dinwiddie added another seven counters in the 22-point first-quarter start for the Cowboys.
Each team scored 17 points in the second quarter to keep Meeker's lead at 14 with a 35-25 halftime lead.
Paonia had its best quarter in the third frame with an 18-16 run with four Eagles scoring three or more points in the quarter.
Meeker added 14 points to its game totals to make the final score 69-54.
Sean Devlin, with four three-pointers, scored 17 points to lead Paonia's offense. Eagle teammates Enoch Kropp and Slater Podgorny joined Devlin in double figures with 12 and 10 points respectively.
Meeker's Eli Newman shared game-scoring honors with Devlin with his 17 points and got double-digit help from Mantle (15 points) and Dinwiddie's 16 counters.
Paonia coach Chase Roeber knew the Meeker game would be tough. "It'll be a battle," said Roeber. "It's a tough place to play and they are big and strong. They return all starters from last year."
Meeker's final regular season game is against Soroco (1-10 and 4-14). The Eagles are hosting the 2A District 5 league-leading Rangely Panthers Feb. 16 at 7 p.m.
Meeker 46, Paonia 28
Meeker's first quarter play established the Cowboys' determination to win the game. A 25-7 opening period was too much for the Eagles to overcome the rest of the way.
Meeker's offense was in neutral during the middle quarters of play and produced just eight points in that time span. Unfortunately for Paonia, Meeker's defense was able to limit the Eagles to 11 points in those two quarters combined.
Meeker was three points better in the final stanza to make the final score 46-28.
Paonia's Mckenna Palmer led Paonia scorers with 10 points with Kassidy Rapke next high with seven. Palmer also had four steals in the game for Paonia.
The Eagles (7-3, 11-6) are fifth in 2A District 5 standings and will host number two Rangely Feb. 16 at 5:30 p.m. to conclude regular season play for both teams.