GYPSUM - Eagle Valley boys basketball took a punch from visiting Battle Mountain, but delivered a few more in the second half of Friday night's rivalry game in Gypsum, hanging on for a 58-46 win over the Huskies.
And with that, the Devils faithful could yell their favorite chant, "Just like football."
"It's good," Devils senior Tanner Harris said. "We're rivals. It's always good to beat our rivals."
The Huskies led by as much as 10 in the first quarter, but the Devils closed it to one at the half. Eagle Valley started the second half with a 12-2 run and held off numerous charges from the Huskies to hang on in a packed and rowdy gym.
"It just took us a while to get going. We came out sloppy," Eagle Valley coach Jim Bair said. "I think our guys were emotionally ready for the rivalry, but physically overlooked this game. And Battle Mountain gave us their best game, especially in the first quarter. They absolutely took it to us."
The heavyweight battle started early, with the Huskies landing the first punch. Cody Brown hit from downtown and Jack Kamby followed with two of his own. Joe LyBarger ripped off three-straight lay-ups, including two off steals and Battle Mountain led after one, 17-9.
Eagle Valley started climbing back into it with treys from Tanner Harris and Jordon Hudspeth. Ryan Werner hit a layup, followed by a Sam Lounsberry jumper. By the time Noah Ejnes hit his jumper at the buzzer, the Devils had closed to 28-27.
Werner gave Eagle Valley the lead for good with a putback with 7:32 left in the third quarter. Travis Edgar and LyBarger traded buckets, but, after that, the Devils jumped. Edgar struck again inside, as the Devils were finally establishing control of the paint. Then Juan Baca and Lounsberry dropped 3s for a 39-30 lead with 4:38 left in the third quarter.
Unlike their first meeting, however, Battle Mountain did not go gently. The Huskies pulled within two at 47-45 with 5:13 left in the game on a Jerry Carazco three. A free throw by LyBarger made it 47-46, but the Huskies got no closer.
"The thing I told the kids at the end - I showed them the stats," Huskies coach Tom Padilla said. "In they first half, (Eagle Valley) had maybe four buckets in the paint. In the second half, they had 12. We just didn't box out and they just beat us on the glass."
Lounsberry had 19 points in leading Eagle Valley (13-3 overall and 9-2 in the 4A Slope). LyBarger topped the Huskies (8-8, 4-8) with 17.
The Huskies host Glenwood today at 3:30 p.m. in Edwards, while the Devils are at Rifle for what should be another tough game.
"We've got to win," Harris said. "We've got to go in there like we're going to win. We've got to keep our heads up high and play team ball."
Lady Devils rout Huskies
Eagle Valley girls basketball wasted absolutely no time in taking care of its rivals, downing the Huskies, 62-11, Friday night in Gypsum.
The Devils (11-6, 8-3) put on the full-court press, and converted Battle Mountain turnovers into easy baskets. Eagle Valley led 14-0 after the first quarter and, by the time Taylor Davidson hit the Huskies first field goal it was 23-2.
Everybody seemed to be on the act for the Devils. Madeline Lounsberry had the first bucket of the game and Megan Asmussen, Lauren Thorpe, Mariel Gutierrez and Ally Zehring all put up points in the first frame.
"We did a nice job," Devils coach Sam Bartlett said. "We had a ton of energy. We executed on defense. It's gotten better as the season has gone on. We got off to slow start offensively, but we got out in transition and capitalized on some easy baskets. We started to execute our offense better in the second half."
Taylor Martin and Lounsberry ended up leading Eagle Valley with 10 points, but most of the Devils ended up playing, gaining varsity experience and giving the starters a rest.
Eagle Valley heads to Rifle for a big one today. The Devils need a victory to maintain their hold on second place in the Slope. Meanwhile, Battle Mountain (2-14, 2-9) head home to face Glenwood Springs.
"Right now, we're tied with Rifle for second place. We'll probably be 8-3 (in the league)," Bartlett said. "Tomorrow's a huge game for both teams. It's the kind of game you want to be a part of in February. The girls have worked hard to give themselves and opportunity to be in this type of game."