GYPSUM — All. The. Way. Back.
Eagle Valley girls basketball mounted an epic comeback on Thursday night against Delta in Gypsum. The Devils were down 27-12 at the half and rallied for a 50-39 win.
That makes for a happy break, which Sam Bartlett’s crew enters at 2-1 in the Slope and 5-3 overall.
“It was good,” Bartlett said. “I really didn’t have to raise my voice at halftime. I told them they were playing scared. They took that to heart. In the second half, we upped our intensity. We worked on defense yesterday. I told them that the difference with the other Western Slope teams and us is that when we’re relying on our offense, we’re struggling. We really have to play defense.”
On the other hand, Megan Asmussen was lights out for Eagle Valley with 21 points, while Taylor Martin had 11.
Eagle Valley moved the ball well in the first half, but was not aggressive in getting shots in the second quarter. Meanwhile, Delta got busy against the Devils’ defense. Starting with three straight free throws by the Panthers’ Katie Puderbaugh with 58 seconds left in the first quarter, Delta went on an 18-0 run.
Puderbaugh actually had the first five with jumper. Shelby Curtis had the next four. After Pudderbaugh struck again, it was Desiree Smith’s turn. By the time Curtis hit a 3, the Panthers were up 27-12.
Of course, it wasn’t over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor, as the future Sen. Bluto Blutarsky said in “Animal House.” The Devils roared out of intermission with five straight from Megan Asmussen. Lauren Thorpe, Taylor Martin and Jessie Chambers all chipped in and the Devils were rolling. Asmussen — who else? — pulled the Devils even with two roof-lifting 3s with 1:28 left in the third.
“She knocked down those first two (in the first half),” Bartlett said. “Then she missed a few. At halftime, I told her, ‘If they’re going to leave you wide open on the baseline, take the shot.’”
Meanwhile, the Devils’ full-court press was wreaking havoc on the Panthers (0-1, 1-4). Two free throws and a layup from Asmussen gave Eagle Valley its first lead in a while at 37-33 late in the period. Mariel Gutierrez’s nifty reverse layup and two Carly Volkmer free throws had the Devils leading 43-37, before it got a bit sloppy in the fourth. Eagle Valley was 0-for-5 from the stripe until Volkmer calmly sank two big ones with 1:27 left to give the Devils’ a comfortable 47-39 advantage.
“Our IQ is coming along. There were a couple of quick shots I didn’t want toward the end where we gave them possession without running the clock a bit,” Bartlett said. “But we’re not used to playing ahead against Delta, so that was new and that was exciting.
Boys fall to Delta
In all the excitement during the aftermath of Eagle Valley boys basketball’s win over archrival Battle Mountain on Tuesday night, it’s easy to forget that the Devils are still a very young team.
That much was apparent on Thursday as visiting Delta came away with a 45-30 win on Thursday night. As new faces get accustomed to new places, there will be nights like this.
Eagle Valley held a 20-14 lead at the break before the Panthers went on a 17-2 run in the third quarter. For most of that period, Devils senior Travis Edgar, the squad’s only returning starter from two state-playoff teams, was sitting on the bench with his third foul, and Eagle Valley could do very little. (The Devils were also without Alan Carveo.)
“All the players did well,” Devils coach Jim Bair said. “A lot of those players for Delta are veteran players. We learned some things. I think, in the first half, we played some really good basketball, very few mistakes, good decisions. But we’re learning. We’re growing.”
Delta, on the other hand, was doing everything and anything. The Panthers’ Kenny Wood hit a 3 with 3:41 left in the period to give the visitors the lead for good at 21-20. Delta’s Cade Gafford — he’s also the school’s quarterback, if the name sounds familiar — chipped in a 3-point play and the Panthers (1-0, 1-4) were on their way to their first win of the year.
Eagle Valley fell to 1-2 and 3-5. Edgar led the Devils with 10 points.
Delta’s teams head home for their annual holiday tournament, starting with Hotchkiss today. Meanwhile, the Devils are off for the break. The girls are home for Summit County on Jan. 7, while the boys are at Farmer’s Korner the same night.