In preps action Tuesday night, Eagle Valley boys basketball beat Summit County, 42-29, over the pass.
Ho-hum. Really, the Devils should beat the Tigers. The Devils are the defending co-Slope champions, while Rife is all that is keeping Summit out of the cellar of the league.
But, dot, dot, dot (As Mel Brooks said often in "History of the World, Part I").
From Saturday's action ... Summit 66, Delta 53. And from Tuesday's games, Delta 59, Palisade 56.
So to review, the Devils and Battle Mountain both have beaten Summit, which beat Delta, which beat Palisade, which beat the Huskies by one point. (Eagle Valley hasn't played Palisade yet, but took its only league loss at Delta - by 21 points - before the break.)
Last week, I wrote that the 4A Slope was wide open for the taking. but Summit beating Delta? If I saw that coming, I'm a Dodgers fan and rooting for the Ravens in the Super Bowl.
If you didn't believe me before, people (dot, dot, dot).
• So upon further review, good win, Devils. And we can say this for both the Devils and Huskies for the rest of the year, any 4A Slope win is a good one. Games may not be pretty like Eagle Valley's win at Steamboat or Battle Mountain's loss to said Sailors - both by one point, but it doesn't matter. Pardon me for saying this - I hate the Raiders - but just win, baby.
• Eagle Valley, first off, good win at The Boat last week. This is one of Freud's Rules of the Slope - any win in any sport is a good one up there. (OK, maybe not football, but soccer and basketball always.) In basketball, the Sailors play defense like no one's business and give fits to every team by slowing things down to a crawl (This hurts both the Devils and the Huskies, who like to run.)
• Type in "Buzzer Beater! EVHS" into YouTube, and you can see Ayren Hart's game-winner against the Sailors. In the future, Ayren has to call, "bank" on shots like that. What's funny here is that Devils girls basketball coach Sam Bartlett seems more excited than boys coach Jim Bair.
• Thanks to that win and our now-good friends at Summit, Eagle Valley controls its destiny in the Slope. That path starts with Glenwood next week, and beating the Demons for a third time. That's tough, guys. And it's the beginning of a lot of rematches - Palisade excepted. You guys know how much you want a second shot at Delta? That's how everyone you've beaten in the league feels about you.
• And, by the way, Eagle Valley, you're rooting for Battle Mountain Saturday. The Huskies are at Delta. I know it's difficult. "Go Huskies ... Go Huskies." Try it. Politics and high school sports make for strange bedfellows.
• OK, Battle Mountain, you are so close. Coach Tom Padilla hit the nail on the head when he said his team was six points from being 6-1 instead of 3-4 in the Slope. It's the small things which become big things, like free-throw shooting. Missed free throws were an issue even before technical-foul-a-palooza began.
• The Huskies do have talent. I was sitting next to half of the Eagle Valley team during the Battle Mountain-Steamboat game. The Devils said, "LyBarger's talking over this game," in the fourth quarter. They were right about Joe. Jack Kamby, you have turned into a basketball player. You clearly worked during the offseason. Well done. John Roulon, you've got game.
• And everyone carry Jimmy O'Rourke to class, so his back can get better. But don't throw out your backs doing so. And, yes, nice game, Cody Brown.
• Battle Mountain, win a close one and the wins will come in bunches.
• Oh, yes, let's hear it for Eagle Valley girls basketball. The ladies are 9-3 overall and 6-1 in the Slope. Bartlett's crew is winning the tight ball games, and this is contagious. (All the more reason the Huskies boys need to get their first.) More close games are doubtless ahead, ladies, but you've been there and done that. And five of your last seven are at home.
• So, Vail Christian boys basketball playing anyone Friday? It's time for Hayden, the team that has owned the Saints since they moved into this league. First off, everyone make sure they have a nose guard. (Old-school Vail Christian joke. Sorry.) Second, defense and rebounding and rebounding and defense. You're getting there on this front with only 50 points allowed twice, and one of those was against Shining Mountain, the No. 1 team in 1A.
Know going in that you won't get a favorable call. It just doesn't happen on the road, especially there. Don't get in a running game with them. You did that last year, and it didn't work. The Tigers are good, and wear the 2A Slope's best uniforms, but they're ripe. Defense, defense, defense.
• The Lady Saints are also at Hayden Friday and home for Soroco Saturday. It is time to get well, Vail Christian. The Saints have played a heck of a nonconference schedule and this is when it pays off.
• Hats off to Vail Mountain basketball, which is on the board after a 52-42 win at DeBeque. William Sterett had 18 points, while Mitch Saalfeld knocked down 14.
• Sport I miss a lot: Hockey. It was nice to be back at a Battle Mountain hockey game. First off, I'm still so hacked at the NHL that I forgot how much I do love the sport. I also missed Dobson.
As for the Huskies, tape-to-tape passes, guys. Dump-and-chase into the opponent's end isn't going to work when the other team's bigger. On the positive side of ledger, the penalty kill's looking good - 17-for-17 in the last three games. (Try not to go to the sin bin that much, though.) Oliver Elvenger would be another one. Kudos to the man behind the mask.
• Interesting wrestling moment before we go: Battle Mountain's Heivan Garcia is a first-year wrestler as a senior and got Eagle Valley's Ty LaFramboise in Tuesday's dual. Not surprisingly, LaFramboise won quite efficiently. What was interesting was to hear Garcia's reaction. "He was so quick. Didn't see it coming."
Heivan, now you know what soccer goalies around the state feel like when you ripped into a shot every fall.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.