Tired Paonia falls in Class 2A third-place game
PUEBLO — Three high-energy games in three days proved to be too much for the top-seeded Paonia Eagles.
Abby Dorman scored 21 points for the Evangelical Christian Academy Eagles in Saturday’s Class 2A third-place game to help her team to a 64-51 win over Paonia.
“When you play the style of game we play I was hoping we’d have it for the third game, but I didn’t know if we would,” Paonia coach Scott Rienks said after an emotional final talk with his team.
Paonia finished the season 23-3, but on a two-game losing streak.
“We haven’t had that opportunity, we haven’t done that,” Rienks said. “You just hope your legs are there for the third game.”
Six times this year Paonia has played on back-to-back nights, but all involved at least one blowout.
Its game Friday against Lutheran, a team that runs the same fast-paced style as they do, took everything they had out of them.
“I think we’re a mentally strong team,” said Carson Pipher, who had a team-high 16 points for Paonia. “I really feel that way and we know how to push when it gets tough and I felt like we did that, but that thought of tiredness is in the back of your head.”
And in their legs.
Evangelical went to the line 42 times on Paonia’s 29 fouls, something Rienks attributed to slow legs and what he called lackluster officiating.
Dorman scored 21 points for Evangelical. Heidi Mann and Lindsay Geving chipped in with 14 and 13, respectively. ECA finished the year 24-3.
Chelsy Reed added 10 points for Paonia and Abby Campbell had seven.
“This group played so hard for me,” Rienks said. “As much as we wanted to win it for each other, I can’t ask for anything more.
“We came in here with a target on our back and played as hard as they could play and we just couldn’t get the job done.”