The 2019-20 prep basketball season has started with plenty of success for several teams. The Hotchkiss High School Bulldogs are sitting atop the girls (overall standings) with a 4-0 record with Paonia High School and Plateau Valley High School close behind with 3-0 marks. Hayden begins the year with a 6-1 record with Meeker and Rangely chasing the leaders with 4-1 slates. Paonia and Vail Christian have the best overall records in the boys 2A District 5 standings with 3-0 records and Hotchkiss’ boys are 2-1 while West Grand and Vail Mountain sport 3-2 records.
Even though Scott Rienks has expressed concerns about his team’s mechanics, the Paonia girls are 3-0 following last week’s 52-13 win over Caprock Academy (1-3). Paonia’s defense is getting better each week and last week’s performance at Caprock Academy exemplifies that with a stifling effort that limited the Eagles of Caprock to just two points in the first quarter, three points in the second quarter and four points in each of the second half quarters.
Tim Esgar’s boys kept their winning streak alive against Caprock Academy with a 55-28 win. Senior Kyle Long canned 14 points with junior teammate Braden Lewis’ 13 points providing a second double-digit effort for Paonia. Seniors Jai Petmezas and Landon Thliveris finished with eight points each for the Eagles.
Paonia’s defense was impressive in limiting Caprock shooters to nine points in the first and fourth quarters and four and six points in the second and third periods, respectively.
Paonia battled 3A Olathe (0-6) on Dec. 17 and will travel to New Castle to face 3A Coal Ridge (3-3) on Friday, Dec. 20, with games beginning at 4 p.m. (both junior varsity teams), 5:30 p.m. (girls varsity) and 7 p.m. (boys varsity).