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Stakes high as Devils, Huskies meet Thursday night

State wrestling

We’ll be updating state wrestling on http://www.vaildaily.com regularly throughout the tournament. Here are the opening matches for the local wrestlers.

Class 3A

106 — Luke Morrissey (32-8), Devils, vs. Karson Cox (11-2), Moffat County.

113 — Lucas Comroe (32-10), Devils vs. Ryan Moltz (42-2), Salida.

132 — Raul Lopez (15-3), Devils vs. Tyler Vigil (36-12), Monte Vista.

138 — Noah Hermosillo (40-1), Devils vs. Jared Lecuyer (28-17), Elizabeth.

145 — Caleb Laisure (18-10), Devils, vs. Quentin Jiner (24-2), Weld.

152 — Davis Ward (23-12), Devils, vs. Deron Bietson (23-9), La Junta.

160 — Justin Morrison (19-16), Devils vs. Dax Bender (19-3), La Junta.

Class 4A

132 — Mario Delara (33-10), Huskies vs. Grant Willits (40-3), Pueblo County.

Well, well, well.

The 4A boys Western Slope basketball race got a whole lot tighter on Tuesday night after Summit County pulled the upset of Eagle Valley, 63-59, in Gypsum.

We've got a three-way tie atop the league with the Devils, Steamboat Springs and Glenwood Springs all at 7-4, with Rifle at 6-5.

It lends a certain importance to Thursday’s second round of the local derby — wrong sport, though Huskies-Devils soccer has been quite interesting of late — tonight.

We break down the boys' and girls' games Thursday, as well as trying to make sense of various tiebreaker scenarios.

Boys: Devils at Huskies, 7 p.m.

• First off, this is Battle Mountain's Super Bowl. Yes, both teams are probably in the state tourney — more on the rating-percentage index later — but the chance to do their part of depriving the Devils of a league title is the major motivation for the Huskies.

• In what mental state are the Devils after losing two in a row to Palisade and Summit? This was likely the focus of practice on Wednesday. To address the 800-pound gorilla in the room, Eagle Valley is 1-2 without Jimmy Murphy. We saw the rally-around affect in the team's first game without Murphy, a good win against Rifle last week. But losing the next two against lower-tier teams in the Slope raises alarm bells.

Let's get one thing straight, even without Murphy, the Devils are still more talented than the Huskies. Will the Devils be in the right place mentally to use said talent?

• Which Battle Mountain team shows up? OK, Huskies coach Phil Tronsrue had gray hair before this season, but this hasn't helped, guys. Battle Mountain needs Devin Huffman to be Devin Huffman, and it's worth noting that Huffman is likely healthier than he was the first go-round. (In retrospect, he shouldn't have played that game last month.) And somebody else needs to step and have a big game. Baker Gentry? Miles Joersz? Creek Kamby? Taylor Staughton? Bueller?

• How "coach" Freud would try to beat Eagle Valley … Huffman and Co. go straight at Dawson Keller and try to get No. 5 in foul trouble. (Let's make this clear — I want to see Dawson have a great game because I want these teams at their best. However, it's no secret that Keller can get ruffled. Keep your cool, kid.) I'd also put Joersz on Arturo Loera. Battle Mountain is picking its poison here because, yes, Garrett Martin and Jesus Loera can also beat you senseless. Yet getting Keller to the bench opens up room for Huffman to rampage, and a hot Arturo Loera can carry Eagle Valley.

• How "coach" Freud would try to beat Battle Mountain … Everybody on Huffman. Is it possible to quadruple down? I'm making anybody but No. 5 beat me. (No. 5 is an important number tonight.) Some combination of Jesus Loera, Keller and Martin is on Huffman constantly. Kamby, Joersz, Gentry and Staughton, you all need to prove me wrong.

Tiebreakers

The Eagle Valley boys (7-4) conclude the season at Battle Mountain. Steamboat Springs (7-4) hosts Summit, which should be a win, but we all thought that on Tuesday night. Meanwhile, Glenwood Springs is at Rifle tonight is that rivalry-palooza.

Here are the tiebreaking scenarios I have. Don't bet the house on this.

• Devils win; Sailors win: Bears win: Eagle Valley wins title.

• Devils win; Sailors win; Demons win: Eagle Valley wins title.

• Devils win; Sailors lose, Bears win: Eagle Valley wins title.

• Devils win; Sailors lose; Demons win: Eagle Valley wins title.

• Devils lose; Sailors win; Bears win: Steamboat wins title.

• Devils lose: Sailors win; Demons win: Steamboat wins title.

• Devils lose; Sailors lose; Bears win: Four-way tie at 7-5. I don't think the Devils can't win, while Rifle, Glenwood and Steamboat wait on Battle Mountain at Palisade game on Friday.

• Devils lose; Sailors lose; Demons win: Glenwood wins title.

Your $1-million sports insight from a free paper: It behooves Eagle Valley to win.

Girls: Devils at Huskies, 5:30 p.m.

• When these teams last got together, the Huskies beat the Devils, 39-36, so plotline No. 1 is the Devils want payback. Battle Mountain went 18-for-20 from the line. (By the way, free throws are pretty much everything in either rivalry game.) Eagle Valley's been a little all over the place since that loss, some good, some not-so-good. The Devils need this game to go into the postseason on good note.

• Speaking of the postseason, Battle Mountain needs to get a move on with regard to the postseason. The Huskies are No. 51 as of this writing and the magic number is 48 for state. The Huskies have the Devils (12-8) tonight and are at Palisade (19-3) on Friday, which will help with the ever critical opponents' winning percentage, 50 percent of the RPI.

• How "coach" Freud would try to beat Eagle Valley … Freud takes "The Huffman Plan," and applies it to Kylie Martin because big players rise in big games. I have more confidence in the coterie of Regan Bossow, Taylor Hermosillo and Cassie Jaramillo than I do the Battle Mountain boys' perimeter game. But the way Ms. Martin was playing on Tuesday, both inside and out, you've got to contain her.

• How "coach" Freud would try to beat Battle Mountain … Give Martin the darn ball. Feed her, feed her and feed her some more. Jaramillo is also on Monique Stephens. Eagle Valley can't have Mo getting hot outside, and opening it up for Dylan Barker, Claire Krueger and Sara Sullivan.

See you in Edwards tonight.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, cfreud@vaildaily.com and @cfreud.