The week began with the Olathe High School Pirates in town on Dec. 17 and ended on a trip to New Castle to face Coal Ridge High School on Dec. 20 to complete a pair of non-conference basketball games to end the 2019 portion of Paonia High School’s basketball campaign. In girl’s action, the Pirates had a lead for virtually the entire game to score a 38-32 win over Paonia’s Eagles while the boys’ game was back and forth with Olathe using an 18-7 fourth quarter to secure a 51-42 decision.
Against Coal Ridge, Paonia’s girls were dealt their second loss of the season in a 46-18 decision at New Castle. Paonia’s boys were outscored 40-15 in the first and third quarters of its game against the Titans and eventually lost by a score of 64-38.
In a turnover-fest, Olathe’s Pirates came out ahead in a six-point win, 38-32. The Pirates outrebounded Paonia 26-20 to give Olathe more successful chances to score in the game.
The game wasn’t dominated by either offense as demonstrated in a 4-2 first-quarter lead held by Olathe. The game’s tempo increased with both teams reaching double-digit scores in the second quarter and Olathe keeping a 16-12 lead at halftime. Olathe freshman Delana Mountford paced the Pirates’ offense with a field goal and a four-for-four performance at the free throw line to lead Olathe to a 12-10 advantage in the second quarter.
Paonia had its best scoring quarter of the night right after halftime with six players dividing 13 points amongst themselves in a 13-12 Eagles’ advantage. Olathe regained a slight offensive advantage in the final period to win the game, 38-32.
Mountford’s 10 points topped all scorers in the game with Gabby O’Donnell adding an additional eight points and Mariah Garcia seven for the winners. Paonia’s Payton Fister had eight points to lead the Eagles scoring efforts.
The Eagles were held under 10 points in each of their four quarters against Coal Ridge on Friday in a 46-18 loss. Junior Taylor Wiescamp scored 14 points for the Titans and had 10 rebounds and three steals for the winners.
Paonia’s girls are 3-2 as they await the 2020 segment of its basketball schedule beginning on Jan. 10 with a First Colorado National Bank first round game against Hotchkiss High School at 3 p.m.
Paonia’s three-game winning streak ended Dec. 17 with Class 3A Olathe High School coming from behind late in the game to earn its first win in seven starts in 2019 with a 51-42 score. The Eagles fell to 3-1 in the 2A/1A WSL with the loss and Olathe improved its record to 2-5 in the 3A Western Slope League.
Senior Kyle Long kept the Eagles close for two quarters with all 10 of his team-high points coming in the game’s first two quarters. Long finished with five points in each of the first two quarters, including a three-ball in each period. Olathe senior Dayton Sofka was the big gun for the Pirates with 12 of his 20 counters coming in the first half as well. Sofka dumped in nine points in the first quarter and added three more in the second period. Sofka and Jose Almanza scored six points in the final quarter to lead the Pirates to an 18-7 advantage and a 51-42 non-conference win.
Long didn’t quite receive the help on offense that was needed to earn a win but senior teammates Jai Petmezas and Logan Green and junior Dominic Felic all contributed seven points in Paonia’s offensive efforts.
A 19-6 lead after one quarter gave Coal Ridge all the momentum it needed to put Paonia’s Eagles in the rear view mirror. Titan senior Austin Gerber scored 17 points and junior Karsen DuBois finished the game with 14 to help Coal Ridge cruise to its fifth win against three losses for the season. Paonia takes 3-2 records in both girls and boys play to the new year.
Paonia kicks off the 2020 portion of its boys basketball season with games in the annual First Colorado National Bank tournament in Delta on Jan. 10 and 11. The Eagles will open tournament play on Jan. 10 against Hotchkiss High School at 4:30 p.m. Winners on Jan. 10 will play in Saturday’s championship games at 2 p.m. (girls) and 3:30 p.m. (boys). Friday’s losers square off in consolation finals on Saturday at 11 a.m. (girls) and 12:30 p.m. (boys).