The Saratoga Sun -

Panthers get three wins at Carbon County Classic


Doug Radunich

Ben Falk dribbles past Cokeville's Cole Jackman during Saratoga's first game of the Carbon County Classic. Falk scored 22 points in the game, helping the Panthers win 56-42. Saratoga also beat Hayden, Colo. (63-40) and HEM (56-34) at the tournament.

The Saratoga varsity boys basketball team achieved three wins at last weekend's Carbon County Classic, showing they had the skills and determination to claw their way to the top.

The Panthers won all three of their games at last weekend's Carbon County Classic, and pulled in winning leads of more than 20 points in those against Hayden, Colo. (63-40) and Hanna/Elk Mountain/Medicine Bow (56-34). Coach Josh Sandlian said he was happy to see the boys get off to a good start with their 56-42 win against Cokeville, their first game of the Classic and season.

"They were able to run the floor and get the ball out ahead, and we got some good open layups off of our press breaker that seemed to bump us up a few points," he said. "Ben Falk pretty much owned the paint, so that was good for him and we're going to need him to do that all year long. Cokeville is a pretty good team, and I expect that they'll compete well in their conference. It's always tough playing them."

Sandlian said he saw some great things out of their second game against Hayden. He said the Panthers' quickness in ball movement helped get the Tigers off-guard several times.

"We moved the ball pretty well, and we were able to move the ball enough to get them out of their rotation and their zone defense," Sandlian said. "We got some easy baskets, so that seemed to be the key for us."

Sandlian is now in his fifth year as the boys' head basketball coach, and nine years coaching altogether. He is excited to work even further with returning seniors Ryan Malone, Cameron Collamer, Ben Falk, John Brennan and Emmanuel Pattishall-Baker.

"We expect to compete in every game and to compete in our conference, and I expect the seniors to be leaders in every facet of our season," Sandlian said. "We improved every game last year. We expected to play at regionals but had to play in the pigtail game and lost to Southeast."

Sandlian said the seniors previously mentioned, along with Andrew Janecek-Oiler, Rodrigo Escobedo, Cameron Lehr, Braxton Schwartzkopf and Jace Berger, are the team's returners for the 2013-14 varsity season. Also included in the lineup are Danny Brennan, Seth Harrison and Darian Williams.

With the Classic now over and done with, Sandlian said Lusk will be one the tough team to look out for and try to beat this season.

"Lusk is probably the team to beat in our conference, and we hope to shake things up though and be able to contend for that No. 1 spot," Sandlian said. "We also have several guys returning on the JV squad, and our hope is that those guys continue to improve and push the varsity to get better as well. We have some incoming freshmen and some new guys out, and we expect them to contribute to the team. We have 23 out this year."

Sandlian said he is looking forward to seeing how his boys compete in games, in addition to how they improve daily during practice. He hopes they progress far enough to make it to state this time around.

"We hope to compete in every game, to finish high in our conference, place at regionals and play at state basketball," Sandlian said. "We're looking forward to the challenge, and we just need to play and come out and compete. We need to do those little things that we know will win basketball games."

The Panthers host the Encampment Tigers at 4 p.m. Friday at Saratoga Middle/High School.

Saratoga vs. HEM

56-34 (win)

Ben Falk- 18 points

Rodrigo Escobedo- 2 points

Danny Brennan- 3 points

John Brennan- 3 points

Seth Harrison- 5 points

Cameron Collamer- 2 points

Braxton Schwartzkopf- 11 points

Darion Vacher- 4 points

Andrew Janecek-Oiler- 2 points

Emmanuel Pattishall-Baker- 6 points

Saratoga vs. Hayden, Colo.

63-40 (win)

Ben Falk- 9 points

Rodrigo Escobedo- 2 points

John Brennan- 19 points

Cameron Collamer- 9 points

Braxton Schwartzkopf- 9 points

Andrew Janecek-Oiler- 4 points

Ryan Malone- 2 points

Emmanuel Pattishal-Baker- 9 points

Saratoga vs. Cokeville

56-42 (win)

Ben Falk- 22 points

Rodrigo Escobedo- 5 points

John Brennan- 9 points

Seth Harrison- 1 point

Cameron Collamer- 8 points

Braxton Schwartzkopf- 7 points

Andrew Janecek-Oiler- 2 points

Ryan Malone- 2 points


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