Eagle Valley girls and boys basketball teams win tight road battles in Palisade | VailDaily.com

Eagle Valley girls and boys basketball teams win tight road battles in Palisade

Fitzsimmons and Jaramillo save the day for Devils

Max Jaramillo came up with a game-sealing steal against Palisade on Tuesday night to give Eagle Valley a one-point victory.
Isabella Almanza/Courtesy photo

Road league contests often boil down to a comeback and a clutch play. Both Eagle Valley’s girls and boys basketball teams saw each in Tuesday night’s victories over Palisade.

“Absolutely wild finish to the game tonight,” stated girls head coach Vinny Cisneros.

In the evening’s first game, the Devils and Bulldogs entered the half tied, but Cisneros’ club would trail by as many as 13 points in the third quarter. Then, Josie Fitzsimmons took over. The junior, who came into the game averaging 11.9 points per game, scored 15 of her 24 points in the second half, including the game winning 3-pointer with five seconds to go, giving the Devils a 41-40 win.

Zakia Shreeve scored six, C.J. Yurcak added five, and Abby Talbot, Cedar Fitzsimmons and Sydney De Trolio each contributed a bucket for Eagle Valley as well. From a scoring perspective, however, the visitors were stifled for much of the first half and portions of the second.

“Their zone defense had all of us really frustrated; we had a poor night executing,” Cisneros admitted. “But these girls rallied defensively and Josie put us on her back offensively and the basketball gods rewarded our efforts.”

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With 12 seconds remaining, the Devils — trailing by two — had the ball on an out-of-bounds play along the baseline, underneath their own hoop. In the timeout, Cisneros asked his athletes if they wanted to go for the tie or the win. The unanimous verdict to go for three came without hesitation, the coach said.

The Devils drew up a play for Fitzsimmons, but a rocky execution forced the guard to hoist a prayer over her defender. Still, the shot kissed off the backboard for the go-ahead score, the Devils’ first lead of the night.

“What a game,” stated Cisneros, whose team improved to 7-8 overall and 2-0 in the league. The Devils are at Delta (10-5) on Thursday before traveling to Edwards to face the Huskies on Feb. 6.

The narrative of the boys’ game was similar — comeback plus clutchness — but it was the Devils who let their opponent rally. Tied 7-7 after one and 20-20 after two, the Devils jumped out to an 11-point advantage going into the fourth after holding the Bulldogs to just three points in the third quarter. Their solid lead dissipated quickly.

“The game became a lot closer off some of our cold shooting,” head coach Justin Brandt said of the fourth quarter Bulldog comeback.

With four seconds remaining, Palisade had the ball — trailing by one — when senior Max Jaramillo came through as the hero, stealing the ball to seal the 45-44 win.

Max Jaramillo, shown here playing defense against Montrose on Jan. 21, stole the ball with four seconds remaining in the Devils one-point road win over Palisade on Tuesday night.
Isabella Almanza/Courtesy photo

“We held on to remain undefeated in conference play with a sweet win over Palisade,” Brandt stated. “It was a total team win — 11 different guys scoring.”

The Devils (8-9, 2-0 league) return to the hardwood to face Battle Mountain in Edwards on Feb. 6.

Eagle Valley’s girls and boys teams are both 2-0 in league play.
Isabella Almanza/Courtesy photo

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