The Paonia girls basketball team easily rolled over rival Meeker Friday night for a 72-44 win.
The Eagles forced steals on Meeker's first two possessions to take a quick 4-0 lead and never looked back, ending the game with 22 steals. Emily Pieper was high scorer with 18 points, with Sophia Anderson scoring 12 from the floor and shooting five-for-eight from the line. Brittany Kendall sank 75 percent of her field goals for 14 points and sank one of her two shots from the three-point line. Brianna Van Vleet scored nine, and McKenna Hartigan scored eight points and had four steals before fouling out in the fourth.
Head coach Scott Rienks credits his aggressive defense for the win. Paonia forced 23 turnovers on steals and boosted the team to a first-half, 34-9 lead. "I feel like I've got the best defensive guards in the state and it's hard to go against them," said Rienks.
The girls played well the first half, but with a 34-9 lead going into the second half, weren't playing to their potential, said Rienks. With district competition starting next week, "We've got to clean it up," said Rienks.
Paonia is now 17-0 overall and 9-0 in 2A District 5 play. They travel Friday to Rangely, No. 3 Rangely (14-4 overall, 8-2 ). The Panthers are on a seven-game winning streak.
Paonia town trustees voted at the Feb. 14 board meeting to table a resolution to participate in the statewide Space to Create. The issue will be included in the Feb. 28 agenda.