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Miles varsity fall to Colorado Wolves

Bill Hancock
Runnels County Register

Friday, Jan. 15, was a tough night for the Miles basketball teams on their home turf as both the boys and girls varsity squads fell to the Colorado Wolves.

Miles Lady Dogs' Regan Smithwick knocks down a short jump shot against Colorado. Smithwick has shown the ability to get into the paint and make space for shots, even when being double teamed.

Lady Dogs fall to Wolves, 40-20

It's been no secret that the Lady Dogs (3-9, 0-4) are in a rebuilding phase with the graduation of several starters last May. They still have experience with juniors Allie Kalina, Emily Sklenarik and seniors Alexa Schwertner and Kendall Kelly. That experience took a substantial hit when Kalina went down against Winters with a torn ACL.

Miles' Regan Smithwick #33, was double and triple teamed by Colorado City during the entire game.

The Wolves (7-7, 4-1)  came into Miles one loss below .500. The Wolves came out of the gate ready to play. Their level of intensity and ability to find passing lanes early on in the game allowed them to build a small lead. Miles played a strong defense as their offense struggled to put the ball in the basket. The score was 4-1, in favor of the Wolves at the end of the first period. As the score indicates, both teams played solid defense during that period.

Miles' Kaleigh Elliott jumps to defend a 4-point shot by Colorado City. Elliott was able to disrupt the shot.

Each team picked up the scoring in the 2nd quarter, bringing the score to 13-8 in favor of Colorado at halftime. The key to Colorado's scoring was passing. They had sharp, quick passes that didn't leave time for Miles to get in and disrupt. The Lady Dogs were keeping up with the fast-paced game with their 7 points in the 2nd period.

The Miles Lady Dogs' Kendall Kelly puts up a short jump shot against the Colorado Wolves.

The 3rd period was a repeat of the 1st period for the Lady Dogs. Colorado came out hungry for a win as they took a commanding 27-10 lead. Their transition game was hitting on all cylinders, with Colorado's Mckenna Lentz leading the charge. Colorado's rebounding advantage gave them several opportunities to grab the rebound and pass down the court to Lentz, who was often at half-court, behind the Lady Dogs' defense.

The Lady Dogs found some life in the 4th period, adding 10 points to their score while Colorado added 13, to finish the game with a 40-10 win. It was just a matter of too little, too late.

There were a lot of positives for Miles. Even though they lost, you see improvements in their overall game and glimpses of up-and-coming stars. Junior Regan Smithwick has establish a presence in the paint, vying for every offensive and defensive rebound. But, just as importantly, Smithwick has improved in moving without the ball, creating space to get good looks for short jumpers and layups before she ever catches the pass. She was often double and triple teamed but still found ways to put up good shots.

Lady Dogs' freshman Kaleigh Elliott is going to give other teams fits for the next 3 years. She has the size, speed and quickness to be a play maker. If the world gets back to normal, Elliott and the girls should gel over the summer to shore up some of those mental errors. Elliott and Smithwick could make for a powerful one-two punch.

When you add sophomore Jessica Hinds, freshman Grace Schwertner and junior Emily Sklenarik into the mix, you have a team with unlimited potential. Sophomore Natalie Fernandez is a strong player who makes good decisions when dishing the ball. Perhaps her greatest strength, shown in the game against the Wolves, was passing her players open. Several times Smithwick was double or triple teamed yet Fernandez got passes to her where only Smithwick could get open and take the pass.

The ladies will graduate two seniors in May, Alexa Schwertner and Kendall Kelly. They have worked hard to help bring the younger players up to speed on what it means to play varsity basketball.

Bulldogs fall to Wolves, 41-32

The game was a tale of two halves for the Bulldogs and the Colorado Wolves. Miles came out fast, running an up-tempo game that Colorado was having trouble catching up to. But, that's how Miles has always played basketball. You have to earn a win against the Bulldogs. Nothing is given. That style often wears other teams down quickly.

Miles' Shelton Petrey hits a 3-point shot against the Colorado Wolves.

In the blink of an eye, Miles went up 6-2 in the first period. Sophomore Shelton Petrey has become fearless with the basketball. The Wolves quickly found out that if you give Petrey any space, he's going to put up a shot. He's good around the basket, from short range, medium range and 3-point land. He has a balanced game and uses his size advantage effectively. Petrey creates space with is stop-and-pop shot, which is deadly if given even a small amount of space.

The Miles Bulldogs played a blanketing defense in the first half against the Colorado Wolves.

The Miles cast of ballers includes seniors Kyle Vahlenkamp, Kolt Walz, Brayden Dunlap, Brandon Rodriguez, Colin Steward, freshman Hayven Book, junior Hayden Johnson, sophomore Keagan Riddle, junior Jose' Castaneda as well as sophomore Auden Torres.

Miles increased their lead to 8-2 before Colorado was able to settle down and start making some shots. The score was quickly nodded at 8 apiece, which is where the 1st period ended.

Miles kept the lead during the 2nd period, but Colorado was able to keep that lead at 5 points or less, always within striking distance. Petrey drew double teams anytime he touched the ball, which allowed space for Brandon Rodriguez to use his size and establish dominance under the basket. The teams went into halftime with Miles holding a 21-16 lead.

Miles' Shelton Petrey catches big air as he gets a piece of the shot put up by the Colorado player.

In the 3rd period, the Wolves knotted the score up at 23 within the first half of the period. Miles was able to battle back, giving tit for tat each time. They maintained their lead throughout the period, going into the 4th period with a 2 point lead, 26-24.

The Wolves started the 4th period with speed and solid defense. They quickly tied the score at 26 apiece. Shortly after that Colorado took a 28-26 lead, but Miles came right back on a 3-point shot from Petrey, to regain the lead, 29-28. The speed was a furious pace. Both teams were playing tight defense while using their respective transition games to points points on the board.

Contact! Miles' Jose Castaneda gets called for a charge against Colorado's Jaxson Phariss.

Colorado took the lead at 30-29 and never looked back. The pace of the game was taking a toll on both teams. Colorado was able to run the floor and open the game up in the last 4 minutes of play, winning 41-32.

Miles' Brandon Rodriguez gets a shot over the outstretched arm of the Colorado Wolves' defender.

After the game, Miles boys head basketball coach Kully Hoffpauir commented about his team's effort, "We got a little tired. We're trying to work ourselves back in shape. We had a long break from getting shut down and we're getting back into it. This was our first week back and I think our kids are progressing well. I felt like our legs came out from under us a little bit in the second half and hurt our shots. I was really proud of our kids. I think we played extremely hard against a very big, a very athletic Colorado City team.