GYPSUM - It wasn't a work of art, but it rarely is after a long holiday break.
The Eagle Valley boys basketball team started 2013 on the right foot Tuesday night with a 66-55 win over Summit County in Gypsum.
"I think half of our guys are still on Christmas break," said Eagle Valley coach Jim Bair somewhat jokingly. "We played poorly. We had some good moments, but we had more minutes that were poor than good."
The Devils (8-2 overall and 4-1 in the 4A Slope) got good looks at the basket in the first half, but couldn't convert. Summit (1-8, 1-4) was plagued by turnovers, including some key traveling calls.
"I thought we played well at times," Tigers coach Philip Tronsrue said. "We had a few lapses in the ball game. We let them push out a bit, but we were down three at a few points. If we shot terribly, I'd say it was the break. I don't know. We were right there."
After the Tigers' Markeith McDonald capped the first quarter with a slam dunk, closing the Devils' lead to 9-7, Eagle Valley finally clicked it into gear with a 16-2 run in the first five minutes of the second quarter.
Travis Edgar started the run with a 3-point play. Sam Lounsberry knocked down two freebies to make it 14-7. Summit's Garrett Tousey had a bucket, but the Devils started running.
Eagle Valley did a nice job shutting down the Tigers on the boards and that led to quick transitions and points. Edgar had a nifty tip-in, followed by two Ayren Hart lay-ups and one by Lounsberry. Jordon Hudspeth capped the run with a 3.
With Eagle Valley leading, 28-17, at the half, Summit still made it a game. (And, yes, if the Tigers' coach looked familiar to Devils' fans, he is. Tronsrue coached at Battle Mountain for seven seasons from 2002-09.)
Summit's Coy Coker and Eagle Valley's Lounsberry traded 3s (two each) to start the third quarter. The Tigers' Thomas DeBonville sank two from the charity stripe, followed by a put-back from McDonald. DeBonville was good for two more from the free-throw line and then got a bucket to help Summit close to 36-33 with 3:27 left in the third.
Eagle Valley replied with two points from Thomas Mills and a pair of buckets from Ayren Hart. The Devils ended the third with another 3-point play from Edgar to push their lead to 48-36.
The Devils could not deliver the knockout punch, despite the fact that the Tigers' Noah Glasco and Merrick Crispell were carrying four fouls into the final eight minutes.
Midway through the fourth, Summit closed again to within three points at 52-49. Eagle Valley's Juan Baca had a key steal, stripping Coker of the ball and getting to Hart for a nice bucket.
Lounsberry led topped the Devils with 22, while McDonald had 18 for the Tigers.
Eagle Valley is off until Jan. 18 when it is at Steamboat Springs, while the Tigers are at Rifle Friday.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.