EDWARDS — OK, don’t panic.
Yes, Battle Mountain boys basketball opened the 2013-14 4A Slope season by putting its best two left feet forward in a 67-23 loss to Palisade Wednesday night in Edwards.
Issue No. 1 is that Palisade is the defending league champion and likely to be in the mix along with Glenwood Springs and omnipresent Steamboat Springs.
Issue No. 2 was that the Huskies were missing three starters on Wednesday night in Amadou Dath (knee), Mizriam Olivas (flu) and Owen Riley (family commitment).
“That’s not an excuse,” Huskies coach Tom Padilla said. “But yet when you’re missing three starters, that’s pretty rough. But the kids who are supposed to step up didn’t step up. We can’t have that. We’ve got to have a strong bench during the year. Maybe, it’s a wake-up call. It’s a lesson for them to learn that they’ve got to come to practice, and that there’s a time, whether you’re a starter or not, that you’re going to have to step up.”
On the other hand, Wednesday night was not exactly how one draws up the first game in league. Visiting Palisade led 17-0 until Jerry Carrazco sank two free throws with 3:03 left in the first quarter. The Huskies got their first field goal with 4:41 left in half, courtesy of Diego Gutierrez, but it was 25-4 by that point.
One place to start was turnovers. Battle Mountain had 28, including a whopping 17 in just the first half. That gave an already potent Palisade more opportunities on the offensive end. The Bulldogs’ Zach Marengo rampaged through the lane like a bull in a china shop. He had 17 points, including nine in the first quarter. Helping Marengo’s cause was that Battle Mountain’s defense in the lane was conspicuously absent at times.
Palisade’s Skyler Miller was the perfect complement on the outside with 15 points. Cruz Villalobos led Battle Mountain (3-1) with seven points.
Girls fall … to 2-2
Battle Mountain girls basketball dropped its league opener to Palisade, 67-15, on Wednesday in Edwards as its record dropped to 2-2.
Let’s just repeat that for a moment, 2-2.
Despite a tough one against the Bulldogs, the Huskies have already matched their win total for all of last season. The Huskies won the Vail Christian tourney last weekend, beating the Saints, 50-26, and Lake County, 46-35.
Against Palisade, Aileen Arreola led the Huskies with nine points, while Elizabeth Olivas had four.
Both Battle Mountain squads are at Clear Creek this weekend for another nonconference tournament.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 and firstname.lastname@example.org.