GYPSUM - With 46 seconds left in the game, Eagle Valley's Jordon Hudspeth missed the front end of 1-and-1 in tight ball game against Delta Saturday.
Teammate Sam Lounsberry picked Hudspeth up by getting the rebound.
That was the theme of the day in Gypsum as Eagle Valley, playing without senior Ayren Hart, used a supreme team effort to ring up a 63-62 win over the visiting Panthers, keeping the Devils very much in the mix of the 4A Slope race.
"It was huge," senior Sam Lounsberry said. "It came off a loss against Palisade (Thursday). We had to win this one to stay in control of our own destiny. With no Ayren, Tanner (Harris) stepped up big huge.
Hart is out with rhabdomyolysis, his mother, Melanie Pates, said via Facebook. According to the National Institutes of Health website, Medilineplus.com, rhabdomyolysis "is the breakdown of muscle fibers that leads to the release of muscle fiber contents (myoglobin) into the bloodstream. Myoglobin is harmful to the kidney and often causes kidney damage."
Pates and Hart were able to get a radio at the hospital and doubtless enjoyed the result. Pates said that Hart is expected to make a full recovery.
As Lounsberry said, Harris got the start in place of Hart, but it just seemed that Eagle Valley (12-3 overall and 8-2 in 4A Slope) rallied around each other to find a way to win.
Travis Edgar had a 20-point game and was a menace in the paint. His twin tower, Ryan Warner, also had one of his better games of the season with 11, and also helped Edgar on the boards. Lounsberry had his shooting touch going and knocked down 17 of his own.
While those were all noteworthy performances, the Devils got contributions from up and down the roster.
"Our bench, our guys played their role," Devils head coach Jim Bair said. "If you can get your whole team to understand what their role is, man, it gets fun."
The Devils jumped all over Delta (9-6, 7-3) early with an 8-0 run to start the game. Eagle Valley led 17-9 after one and 29-22 at the half. But the Panthers just wouldn't go down.
They started the second half with 10-0 run to take their first lead of the game at 32-29. Lounsberry answered with a a 3, followed by lay-ins from Warner and Edgar, the latter coming off a sweet dime from Juan Baca.
Delta rallied for a 46-42 lead early in the fourth, only to see the Eagle Valley rip off seven-straight points - a Lounsberry 3, Baca jumper and bucket by Sam Boyd. The Devils had leads of 54-49 ad 62-56 in the waning minutes of the game, yet the Panthers just seemed to keep hitting 3s.
With 12.7 seconds left, Delta's Chris Black hit a trey from NBA depth. Baca was sent to the line and went 1-for-2. Trailing 63-59, Delta's Ryan Whiteside hit another one from outside the arc with 4 seconds to go to cut the lead to one. Edgar got the ball for the indbound pass, and knew the game situation. Ironically, in game where he had many major moments, his biggest was just standing there and letting the clock run out.
"We just played as a team and everyone worked hard and hustled and our team defense improved," Edgar said.
Lady Panthers beat Devils
Delta all but clinched the 4A Slope title Saturday afternoon, downing Eagle Valley girls basketball, 55-30.
Delta moved to 10-0 in league play and has a three-game lead over Eagle Valley (7-3) with four to play.
"They're very disciplined," Devils coach Sam Bartlett said. "They work very hard. They're very experienced. Overall, they're good on both ends of the court."
Delta seniors Skylyn Webb and Callie Gifford paced the Panthers with 20 and 17 points, respectively.
"There's about five seniors on Delta I'm happy to see graduate," Bartlett joked.
Megan Asmussen had 11 for Eagle Valley, while Taylor Martin ended with 10.
Next up on the 4A Eagle County basketball scene is Battle Mountain at Eagle Valley Friday night with games at 6 and 7:30.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or email@example.com.