Coal Ridge boys start slow, drop game to Delta 62-55 |

Coal Ridge boys start slow, drop game to Delta 62-55

Mike Vidakovich
Special to the Post Independent

The next game on the schedule is always the most important one.

Trying to bounce back from an upset loss last Saturday in Gunnison, the Coal Ridge boys weren’t able to overcome some cold shooting early in the game and dropped a key 62-55 conference contest to the visiting Delta Panthers on Friday night at Peach Valley.

“Sometimes in a season, you have some valleys that you need to work to get out of,” veteran Coal Ridge Head Coach Paul Harvey said. “We’re going to continue to work hard so we can play our best basketball at the end of the season. Great teams can have bumps along the way.”

The Titans were facing a 29-14 deficit midway through the second quarter when Delta guard Jonathan Robinson dropped in a deep 3-pointer for the Panthers. A big deficit and a tenacious Panther defense looked like a major obstacle at that point, but that’s when Coal Ridge began to make a big run at the visitors.

Senior Kevin DiMarco, who tossed in 13 first half points for the Titans, started by dropping in two toward a comeback with a drive down the lane for a bucket. Slippery senior guard Jan Hernandez followed up DiMarco’s score with a spin drive and layup as Coal Ridge started to find its stride. Senior Payton White galloped down the lane for a score and Aaron Arreola hit a 3-pointer to get Delta’s attention. DiMarco then stole a pass near the baseline and leaped up for a two-handed dunk to make the score a manageable 29-26 in favor of Delta.

The third quarter quickly became a battle between DiMarco and Delta’s 6-foot-5 inch post Andrew Baier. With DiMarco scoring almost at will, and Baier flipping in a couple of baseline jumpers, the score remained tight during the entire quarter. The Titan’s Jesus Camunez hit a 3-pointer and sophomore Moises Contreras got a steal and a basket to pull Coal Ridge within 43-39. Delta’s Kyle Mock scored in the paint to close out the third period with the Panthers ahead 48-41.

Jeremy Funes hit a 3-pointer early in the fourth period, and Hernandez followed that with a conventional 3-point play to draw the Titans within 52-47 with 5:35 to go. Mock then scored inside and Robinson hit a free throw to give Delta some breathing room as time started to become a factor.

The deciding moment in the game came with 1:48 to play when Mock hit a baseline 3-pointer to put Delta up 58-53. DiMarco would score off a steal, but a late 3-pointer by Hernandez was just off the mark for Coal Ridge. Guard Alexis Fausto then hit two free throws for the Panthers to put the game on ice.

DiMarco paced Coal Ridge with 25 points. Hernandez and White each had 8 points in the effort for the Titans.

The Titans (10-2, 1-2 WSL) are off for a week before they travel to Grand Valley next Friday night to take on the Cardinals.

Delta girls 52, Coal Ridge girls 49

In a battle of Western Slope League unbeatens, the Delta Panthers held off a furious fourth quarter burst by the Coal Ridge Titans to hang on for a nail-biting 52-49 win Friday night at Coal Ridge High School.

With neither team hitting at a proficient rate from the outside in the first half, the trick for the Titans and Panthers was to see who could get the most baskets in the lane, and score put-backs off missed outside shots.

A pair of sophomores, Delta’s Keely Porter and Coal Ridge’s Taylor Wiescamp traded inside baskets to get the contest started. It was a sign of things to come as the Panther’s junior post Sara Geddes hit consecutive shots from point blank range to stake Delta to a 6-2 lead. Taylor Roberts came into the game for the Titans and scored twice to help her team keep the pace with the Panthers. Coal Ridge baskets followed by seniors Alyssa Wenzel and Adriana Vargas to close the quarter with the Titans trailing 12-11.

Delta upped the lead to 26-22 at intermission. Freshman Erika Kuta was the top gun for Delta in the second quarter scoring 7 points. Senior guard Kashley Morgan hit a 3-pointer for the Titans just before time expired prior to the half.

Porter hit a straight on 3-pointer for Delta to start the third quarter as the Panthers extended their lead to 31-22 with 6:35 showing on the clock. Missa Webb added a driving baseline basket for the visitors as the Coal Ridge deficit grew to double digits.

Morgan broke the Titans dry spell with one free throw, but Delta had begun to find its rhythm when Porter scored from midrange on the left side of the key.

Wiescamp, who had been bottled up all night in a sea of green-clad Panthers, finally powered her way to a couple banking baskets inside to give the Titans some hope. Sophomore Delta post Alexa Huff quickly answered with a score, as did Geddes to give the Panthers their largest lead of the night at 41-28 as the quarter neared its conclusion.

Junior Lyanna Nevarez scored inside and Vargas hit a basket on a high-arching floater to bring Coal Ridge within 41-32, but the Titans would turn the ball over on their next two possessions to halt their hard-earned run.

A 3-pointer by Delta’s Porter hit the Titans hard and put them in a hole at 45-34. Wiescamp would score on an assist from Wenzel though, as the Titans started to make one last charge.

With 4:54 showing on the clock, and Delta nursing a 45-39 lead, Wiescamp scored in the paint as the home crowd began to voice its approval. Moments later, Wiescamp would miss inside, but Nevarez was there to drop it in the net as the Titans trailed just 46-43 with 3:02 on the clock.

Two free throws by Wiescamp and one by Nevarez would tie the game at 46 with 1:50 to play, but Delta’s Geddes scored a 3 point play with a jumper in the lane and a free throw to put the Panthers back on top. Not to be outdone, Wiescamp scored on a missed free throw by Morgan, was fouled in the process and converted the charity toss to make it 49-all with 54.9 to play.

Huff would hit a 15-foot jumper, and Porter dropped in an insurance free throw following a Titan missed shot, as the Panthers would escape with the win.

Delta moved to 10-1, 3-0 in the conference with the win. Wiescamp had 15 points for the Titans and controlled the rebounding department for Coal Ridge. Nevarez chipped in with 8 points and Morgan helped the cause with 6 points.

The Titans (8-4, 2-1 WSL) will be back on the court next Friday against Grand Valley in Parachute.

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