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Eagle Valley cruises in first game of weekend round robin

Devils defeated Roosevelt 73-51 in Steamboat Springs Thursday afternoon

Branden Vigil, pictured in a game last season against Vail Christian, scored 14 points in the third quarter last night against Roosevelt.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

Bill Belichick would have been impressed with Eagle Valley’s approach to Thursday night’s game against Roosevelt. Head coach Justin Brandt’s scouting report did not include deflating game balls, but it did consider some inconspicuous components. In choosing their defense, the Devils not only considered their opponents shooting struggles, but the length of the school’s football season as well. It manifested itself in the rare implementation of a sticky 1-3-1 press and ultimately led to a 73-51 victory in Steamboat Springs, the first of three games for the Devils in the next three days.

“It was a great game — a big win,” said Brandt.

Knowing that Roosevelt’s successful — and therefore long — football season prevented many of its players from working out the kinks to their hardwood schemes, Brandt decided to challenge the full court composure and poise of the Roughriders.



“I kind of wanted to throw something a little different at them,” Brandt said about the unconventional, for his team, defensive game plan.

The application of effective pressure forced Roosevelt turnovers and led to easy Eagle Valley buckets throughout the contest. Senior guard Erich Petersen utilized his lanky, six-foot frame to man the critical point of the press and get the Devils out to an early 18-4 lead.



“Up top, he played phenomenally — super aggressive,” the coach said about Petersen. While Brandt noted it isn’t their base defense, the 1-3-1 was a good personnel-based strategy against a Roosevelt squad that had been struggling to connect consistently from the field.

“It was a good night to try it,” he said about the aggressive, change-of-pace weapon in the Eagle Valley arsenal. “We’ve been running it in practice all summer,” he said.

In their first game of the year against Northridge, the Devils overcame a poor shooting night of their own with great defense and unselfish play. Last night, they shot better and still shared the rock. Junior Branden Villalobos’ maturity was the constant in both games.

“He was an amazing facilitator for us. He’s just really being wise,” the coach praised. “Our first game, he was our scorer, and this game he was our facilitator.” Villalobos had nine assists.

The one putting the ball in the hoop, especially in the second half, was senior guard Branden Vigil. When Roosevelt tried to garner momentum at the start of the second half, Vigil snuffed it, draining three 3-pointers and scoring 14 points in the third quarter alone.

“He just really took over for eight minutes of the game and really set the tone for us, which was great,” Brandt said.

Nikko Von Stralendorff added four 3-pointers for 20 points of his own to lead the team in scoring.

The Devils play Colorado Academy Friday at 3 p.m. They had been scheduled to play Niwot, but the Cougars were forced to pull from the round-robin at the last minute on account of COVID protocols.

 


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