GYPSUM — As the first period wound down on Thursday night against Grand Junction Central, Eagle Valley’s Mariel Gutierrez drove down the lane and dished the ball sweetly to Michelle Carbajal on the left post for the easy bucket.
That’s simply how you want to draw it up, as the Devils blew out to a 27-6 first-quarter lead and a 49-41 win over Central in Gypsum.
And with that, Eagle Valley delivered the quick start for which it was looking after a not-so-fast start here on Tuesday against Summit County.
“I can’t take credit for it,” Devils coach Sam Bartlett said. “It was something they did by themselves. We needed to get started faster tonight in order to get going. I told them it was a focus thing and they had to get together with themselves and get ready.”
The Devils (7-3) really looked like they were shot out of cannon. Taylor Martin had the first four points. Jessie Chambers and Gutierrez delivered the next six from the free-throw line.
Eagle Valley was scoring in large part to a menacing full-court press, good ball movement and attacking the glass. Ashely Ford and Lauren Thorpe both got easy put backs because of said rebounding, and the Devils were cruising at 21-3.
Central did make it interesting, closing the gap to 42-37 in the fourth quarter, a development which gave Eagle Valley flashbacks of the Delta game back in December in the wrong way. (The Devils came back on the Panthers that night.)
Mercifully, Martin, who led the Devils with 15 points, dropped in a bucket with 5:12 remaining in the game, and Gutierrez (12 points) had a steal and a layup at 4:23 to steady the ship.
“I’m not a big fan of stalling. I want to stay aggressive,” Bartlett said. ‘At the same time, I don’t want those quick errant shots. So, it’s a little confusing at times for them. We want to work for layups, be aggressive and get our posts involved in the game when the other team is extended and trying to do too much.”
That said, having problems playing with the lead is certainly better than the alternative.
Central fell to 2-9 with the loss, but the Warriors have played some solid teams with their two wins coming over Delta and Rifle.
That’s important for Eagle Valley because it’s Western Slope opponents the rest of the way, starting with Steamboat Springs in Gypsum on Thursday.
Warriors top Devils
Eagle Valley boys basketball dug too deep of a hole for itself on Tuesday night in a 66-53 loss to Grand Junction Central.
The visiting Warriors built up a 16-4 lead after the first quarter, but it didn’t stop the scrappy Devils from making this a game.
“We struggled offensively from the floor tonight,” Devils coach Jim Bair said. “Central’s defense, they put guys in the right spots. It wasn’t the pressure. It was just having the guys defensively in the right spot. (They’re) defensively a solid team. It’s a team that kept their composure because we did make some runs at them.”
Eagle Valley (4-6) got encouraging contributions from lots of sources, especially in the second half. Freshman Arturo Loera had a big 3 and a layup, as the Devils rallied. Alan Caraveo had a pair of buckets. Freshman Samuel Ericson took a hard charge, and Josh Gagnon even had a pair of free throws.
A nifty combination from Travis Edgar to Turner Glissman pulled Eagle Valley within five at 42-37 to start the fourth quarter. The Devils eventually closed it to four points twice before the Warriors pulled away.
Edgar led Eagle Valley with 17 points.