Miners basketball

Boys head coach Brandon Bredlau talks to the Miners as they prepare to open the season at the Caprock Academy Tournament in Grand Junction.

The new head coach of the Telluride boys team experienced the roller coaster of high school basketball during the opening two games of the season over the weekend.

Brandon Bredlau, the junior varsity coach from last season, was named the Telluride head coach for 2019-20. He and the Miners kicked off the new season at the annual Caprock Tournament in Grand Junction.

The Telluride boys, who surged to a 12-point halftime lead, turned back a furious fourth-quarter rally to win their opener 46-44 over Plateau Valley (Collbran).

With the hot-shooting Cowboys closing fast midway through the fourth, Tommy Wells of the Miners hit an inside basket to ease the pressure.

He later added a key free throw down the stretch before Plateau Valley made it 43-42 with less than a minute to go.

Telluride’s Hayden Tealdi connected on a 3-pointer from the left wing with 26 seconds on the clock, extending the Miners’ advantage to 46-42.

The Cowboys scored with 17 seconds to play, but the Miners ran down the clock for the 46-44 win — Bredlau’s first in his first game as the Telluride head coach.

“I thought we moved the ball well. We passed, cut and screened really well … it was our first game,” Bredlau said after the opening victory. “I think that all showed in the first three quarters.”

The fourth quarter, however, was a different matter, he said.

“I think we got a little too safe (in the fourth quarter),” he said. “I’m not really satisfied with our defensive game. But they’re still learning. They’re all learning with a whole different group of guys.”

The Miners lost seven seniors from the team a year ago.

“This year, it’s totally different,” said Bredlau, the assistant varsity coach last year, as well as the JV coach. “I’m very proud of how the guys stayed with it and battled.”

One day later, Bredlau’s roller coaster ride took another wicked turn when the Miners built a big lead early only to fall victim to a second-half comeback by host Caprock Academy.

“They made shots; they just made shots,” Bredlau said of the Eagles, who gained momentum with each basket in the second half — playing in their home gym. “We had some open looks, but they made (everything).”

Caprock Academy won 52-43.

For Bredlau and the Miners, the weekend tournament provided valuable experience and guidelines for the week ahead.

“We’ll be back in the gym working on creating open space and moving without the ball,” Bredlau said, adding the Miners also will be adding to their defensive sets.

The next game for the Telluride boys (1-1) will be Thursday, when the Miners host Hotchkiss (1-1) in a nonleague game.

Hotchkiss also split its first two games of the new season. The Bulldogs beat Nucla 64-39, after falling 47-42 to Ridgway in the opener.

The Telluride boys will play at home again Friday, when Rangely visits.

Telluride will host Ouray Dec. 17.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

The Telluride High School girls team, under the direction of second-year head coach Tim Halliday, won its season-opening game over the weekend in the annual Caprock Academy Tournament in Grand Junction.

The Miners used a pesky defense and balanced offense to beat host Caprock Academy 32-20. One day later, the Telluride girls dropped a 46-19 decision to Plateau Valley of Collbran.

“The effort was great. I was pleased,” Halliday said of the youthful Miners. “A lot of these girls have only played basketball for two weeks.”

A combination of underclassmen — no seniors — makes up the 2019-20 Telluride roster.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Halliday said. “The starters looked good, moving the ball and passing and getting into the different defenses.”

He commended their focus and energy in the opening win over Caprock Academy, a charter school in Mesa County School District No. 51.

“We’ll work on getting the other girls up to that point,” Halliday said, adding that the team is building on the foundation established last season in his first year as the Telluride head coach.

“We’re doing the same things,” he said, which has accelerated the team’s development, particularly on defense.

They forced turnover after turnover against the Eagles in the opening win.

Margaux Lovely, who led all scorers with 13 points, hit four consecutive second-half free throws for the Miners.

Teammate Morgan Watkinson scored 11 points and had 10 rebounds for a season-opening double-double.

The Miners’ varsity roster for the tournament included Lila Renke, Kyra LeVan, Katija Kramer, Melena Krownapple, Destiny Leyva, Adriiana Gutierrez, Merci Craft and Summer Armstrong.

Halliday said the development of the Telluride girls program will likely include a junior varsity team this year for the first time in several seasons.

“We are going to have enough for a JV team this year; that’s exciting,” Halliday said.

The Miners ran into a quick and experienced Plateau Valley team on the second day of the Caprock Academy Tournament.

Unbeaten Plateau Valley turned up the defensive pressure against the Telluride girls to take an 11-5 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Plateau Valley surged offensively again in the third quarter, led by leading scorers Madison Clark (13) and Maddisyn Miller (10).

The Telluride girls basketball team will return to game action Thursday, when the Miners host Hotchkiss in a nonleague contest. The Miners will play at Rangely on Friday.The Telluride girls will host Ouray Dec. 17, before a game at Crested Butte Dec. 21, the start of winter break.

The Telluride girls will return to the 2020 schedule with a Jan. 10 game at DeBeque.

The always crucial games with the Ignacio will include a Telluride matchup in Ignacio Jan. 25. The Bobcats will play in Telluride Feb. 8.