Cyclones block Eagles’ direction

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State powerhouse Pueblo West has way with D-Ridge

By Chelsy Woods Klein

The saying, ‘when a door closes a window opens’ doesn’t mention anything about screens blocking those doors and windows. Such was the case for the Dakota Ridge Lady Eagles when they lost 66-40 to the Pueblo West Cyclones at home on Dec. 8 at the Battle at the Ridge tournament.
The Lady Cyclones put up a screen so tight under the net that it closed the doors and windows of opportunity for host Dakota Ridge.
The Lady Eagles were now 0-4 on the season after going 0-3 in the third-annual tournament, which included losses to Boulder and Valor Christian.,The Lady Cyclones improved to 6-0.
Pueblo West played aggressive man-to-man coverage, drawing personal fouls, allowing the Lady Eagles’ opportunities to gain position on the scoreboard. But Dakota Ridge never got its feet under itself.
“Our biggest problem is that we have had injuries,” said Dakota Ridge head coach Traci Nemechek, noting that it feels a little like the injured-reserve list has a revolving door.
Dakota Ridge junior Lauren Wood suffered a badly twisted ankle the second day of try-outs and was entering the tournament a little rusty. Despite that, Wood still scored six points.
Nemechek had to rearrange her strategy the night before facing Pueblo West when  starting freshman point guard Caitlyn Navratil suffered a concussion during the Lady Eagles’ game against Boulder.
“We haven’t (had girls) on the floor enough to build chemistry,” Nemechek said. “The one thing that I thought was good about this game was that the kids played well. Pueblo West is a very good team. They were in the state championship game last year and they are (upperclassmen heavy), but the kids battled today.”
Haley Simental led Pueblo West with 19 points, while Taylor Leyva and Daisy Romero added 13 each.
“We wanted to focus on starting early,” Pueblo West head coach Gil Lucero said. “The last couple of games in the tournament we didn’t have a good start and today we did. We scored 20 points in the first quarter and that’s what I was most pleased about.”