EDWARDS — Tuesday night’s Summit County at Battle Mountain boys basketball game was a case of deja vu for both squads.
For the visiting Tigers, it was a matter of spreading the ball in the second half, just like they had to do a week ago in their previous Eagle County visit, a win at Eagle Valley. For the Huskies, it was, unfortunately more of the same.
Summit County exploded for 36 points in the second half for a 49-42 victory and season sweep of Battle Mountain, sending the Huskies to their ninth straight loss.
“It was kind of like Eagle Valley,” Summit coach Phil Tronsrue said. “There wasn’t a lot of energy anywhere. We said we need to pick it up again. We’ve got to take control. We need to run some of our sets better and utilize what they are going to do. They were running a box-and-one and ran some switches to keep Thomas (DeBonville) guarded all the time. We needed to get our bigs involved. Our bigs needed to step up, just like we did against Eagle Valley.”
Third Quarter Run
The Tigers led the Huskies, 13-12, at the half before running off a 19-3 run in the third quarter. While the Huskies did keep DeBonville bottled up in the first half, it didn’t work in the second. The junior finished with 19 points, including a 3-pointer with 6:00 left in the third. Summit’s Sean Jones and Justin Jacobi had started the rally before that, getting others involved.
That continued with a 3-pointer from Jason Engel and a 3-point play from Jack Anderson. By the time Max Ortiz hit DeBonville with a sweet pass for the ensuing bucket, the normally reserved Tronsrue was actually jumping on the sideline and high-fiving Ortiz.
Once the dust had settled on the third, the Tigers led, 32-15. Battle Mountain did not go quietly. Jerry Carrazco had a 3-point play to start the final period, as did Jon Rulon. Creek Kamby sunk a pair of free throws. Carrazco and Mizriam Olivas each had chippies, or layups, as Tronsrue called them when he coached at Battle Mountain from 2002-09, and the Huskies pulled within six at 34-28 with 4:52 left in the game. Tronsrue called a timeout, and Summit (3-10 overall and 3-6 in the Slope) restored order.
The Tigers’ Mitchell Gray sank two big ones from the charity stripe and DeBonville followed with a 3, and Summit was on its way to a win.
“We’re just not doing the little things right,” said Huskies coach Tom Padilla, whose team slipped to 4-10 and 0-8. “We’re right back in the game, and then we miss two rotations, and they get easy layups. I think they got six points off bad rotations, and that’s game. Nineteen turnovers — if we hit six (more) free throws — we’re in the game. It’s an uphill battle for us.”
The Huskies were without Owen Riley (concussion). On the other hand, Battle Mountain hasn’t been able to field its complete lineup all season due to one injury or the other. Padilla said that the Huskies essentially need to win out to make the district tournament, which is only taking two teams from the 5A/4A Southwest League (the likes of Durango, Grand Junction, Montezuma-Cortez and Montrose), five from the Slope and one wild card from the two leagues.
Must Win For Summit
That puts Summit County squarely on the bubble with big games down the home stretch, starting with a date at Farmer’s Korner on Thursday against Steamboat Springs.
“That’s a game we have to get after, get a win,” Tronsrue said. “If we can get on a nice roll. We need to use this. Unfortunately, the guys have never been in that situation, so we’re trying to teach them. Hopefully, they learn, we make it two in a row and get on a roll, make a little noise and get into the district playoffs.”
Battle Mountain is at Delta on Thursday.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 and firstname.lastname@example.org.