Battle Mountain stuns Devils in overtime, 49-45
February 16, 2017
EDWARDS — On a night of a thousand heart attacks, Battle Mountain boys basketball upset Eagle Valley, 49-45, in overtime on Thursday.
The Huskies settled any question with regard to the rating-percentage index and the playoffs — they're going — and deprived Eagle Valley of its first Western Slope title since 2012.
Eagle Valley (14-9 overall and 7-5 in the Slope) led by as much as 10 points when Dawson Keller hit a 3 with 38 seconds left in the third quarter, but, as has been the case often this season, the Devils couldn't close out the game.
Ironically, Battle Mountain (8-13, 5-6) used the free-throw line, not exactly the team's strength this year, to get back into the game in the fourth quarter. Qwahn Kent, Devin Huffman and Robert Redinger all hit their freebies to pull the Huskies within range. Huffman tied the game at 36 with a steal and a layup with 1:33 left.
Eagle Valley's Matthew Sanchez sunk both ends of 1-and-1, but Huffman responded with a resounding slam to tie it at 38.
The Huskies' David Caballero appeared to have given his team a three-point lead with some clutch free throws, but the refs called a lane violation, reducing Battle Mountain's lead to 40-38. That would be critical.
Eagle Valley's Carlos Quezada missed a 3-point attempt for the win, but Garrett Martin somehow tipped in the rebound at the buzzer, sending the game into overtime.
Caballero started the extra time with a reverse layup. Jesus Loera, who led the Devils with 17, Arturo Loera and Quezada all sank free throws to keep the Devils close. The Martin struck again with 47 seconds left in OT to tie the game at 45.
The Huskies' Baker Gentry, who had been serenaded with chants of "Air ball" all night by Eagle Valley fans because he had one earlier in the game, got nothing but net on two free throws with 29 seconds remaining and Huffman, who led all scorers with 19, iced it with two more.
Eagle Valley awaits its playoff draw. Ranked 25th in the RPI, the Devils are still in the playoffs, but finishing the regular season with three losses in their last four is a sour note. If they finish in the top 32, they'll be home on Wednesday for the first round.
Meanwhile, Battle Mountain is at Palisade tonight.
Devils girls return the favor
And order was restored … but not without a fight.
Eagle Valley girls basketball got payback for a loss to its rival last month with a 49-40 win at Battle Mountain on Thursday night in Edwards.
The Devils (14-9, 7-5 and 37th in the RPI) survived a 3-point barrage from the Huskies' Monique Stephens and Dylan Barker and might just have put a serious crimp in Battle Mountain's postseason plans.
Eagle Valley overcame a 31-27 third-quarter deficit with a cast of heroes, a good sign for the playoffs, which start on Tuesday.
Brennecke Gale hit a jumper with 10 seconds left in the third to start it. Next up was Ashlee Dubeau with two big-time 3s. Battle Mountain answered with Stephens and Barker hitting from downtown for a 41-40 lead with 2:46 left.
For Eagle Valley, it was time for Ashley Amavisca, who scored the next four points, two from the line and a field goal, to give Eagle Valley the lead for good.
"It was great to see Ashlee Dubeau hit those 3s," Devils coach Sam Bartlett said. "Those were major momentum changers. And Ashley Amavisca coming in and knocking down those free throws, that's senior leadership."
Stephens led the Huskies with 22, while Kylie Martin had 17 for the Devils.
Meanwhile, Battle Mountain (12-9, 5-6) is fighting for its playoff lives. The Huskies entered Thursday's game No. 50 in the RPI and is very decidedly on the bubble going into its season finale at Palisade tonight.
"We still have to battle," Huskies coach Paul Stevens said. "There's no ifs, ands or buts. We've got to leave it all out there and let the cards fall where they may."
The Devils will likely open the playoffs on the road on Tuesday.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.