PALISADE - Eagle Valley girls basketball crashed Thursday night, and that's a good thing.
The Devils crashed the boards with vigor against Palisade and that produced a 40-27 win at Palisade.
"I think they understood that they didn't do what we needed do against Glenwood (Springs Tuesday)," Eagle Valley coach Sam Bartlett said. "Palisade has always been a tough team to crash against. Practice yesterday was intense and that carried over into today."
And, with that, the Devils upped their record to 10-4 overall and 7-2 in the 4A Slope, heading in to Saturday's rematch against Delta at 12:30 p.m. in Gypsum. While the visiting Panthers are likely to win the league, even if Eagle Valley pulls the upset. A Devils win, however, would likely please the Maxpreps.com computer which will be spitting out the state-tournament bracket.
"Delta is something we aspire to be," Bartlett said. "We're going to give it our best shot on Saturday."
Against Palisade, there was plenty of balanced scoring - Mariel Gutierrez and Megan Asmussen each had nine points, while Taylor Martin had eight. Martin also had 14 rebounds, which was huge. Asmussen, Jessie Chambers and Carly Volkmer also pounded the boards in a big way.
In the nightcap, Palisade handed the Eagle Valley boys a setback, 59-52. That makes it a three-way race for the league title with the aforementioned Bulldogs, Devils and Delta.
"Palisade came out with the grudge-match mentality that they were going to win, and not lose a shot at a conference title," Devils coach Jim Bair said. "They beat us in every aspect of the game for 25 minutes. The other seven minutes, we might have given them a cut below the eye, but they knocked us out in the end.
"We let one slip. We have to go beat Delta and then we're still in a decent position in the standings."
The Devils boys (11-3, 7-2) are also home for Delta Saturday at 2 p.m.
Saints crush DeBeque
EDWARDS - Vail Christian's Cooper Gould got nine.
Normally that would send the sophomore into a spasm, as nines are simply not allowed on his golf scorecard. But Gould had nine points, a career-high - more is better in this sport, Coop - as the Saints pounded DeBeque, 76-25, in 2A Slope action Thursday at the Wheeler Athletic Center in Edwards.
While a laugher, this was important to Vail Christian (9-3, 4-1) for two reasons. Issue No. 1 is beating teams like DeBeque, North Park and Plateau Valley for the purposes of 1A district seeding. (The Saints move down for the postseason and are 4-0 so far against those three opponents.)
Coach Sheldon Kuhns also liked that his team took care of business against the Dragons. A 30-4 lead after the first quarter generally puts the coach in a decent mood.
"We were focused," he said. "We hit our shots, played defense and rebounded, everything we're meant to do."
That's big because Vail Christian, both girls and boys, head to Paonia tonight for a big set of Slope games.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.