Eagle Valley girls basketball runs past Vail Christian at home | VailDaily.com

Eagle Valley girls basketball runs past Vail Christian at home

Eagle Valley's Josie Fitzsimmons shoots a free throw Thursday against Vail Christian in Gypsum. Fitzsimmons finished with 11 points to lead all scorers in a big win for the Devils.
Nate Peterson/Vail Daily

GYPSUM — Forget the lopsided final score. There were positives on both sides in Thursday night’s basketball game between the Eagle Valley girls and visiting Vail Christian.

The Devils, who play in the 5A Western Slope, got their second win in as many nights after Tuesday’s canyon closure forced them to play at Grand Junction on Wednesday. The Devils rolled over the Tigers, 46-18, on Wednesday, then smothered the Saints, 56-9, on Thursday, emptying the bench for every reserve to get some minutes. 

Meanwhile, the Saints, from the 1A/2A Western Slope, got to face off against a much bigger school with nothing on the line other than pride.

Vail Christian senior Daisy Palacio embodied that pride late in the third quarter when she was rejected on a drive, only to grab her own loose ball before going back up in the paint for her second field goal of the night. Fouled on the play, Palacio sank her free throw for the 3-point play to give her five points for the game.

“I think you see that throughout our whole team, even if things don’t go our way, we’re still going to keep trying,” Palacio said. “We love the game, and we’re not going to give up without a fight.”

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Vail Christian coach Tim Pierson’s team played hard until the final buzzer. In fact, junior Steele McClinton sank her only field goal of the night at the final horn.

“Give Eagle Valley credit,” Pierson said. “They’ve been playing big schools all year. The Durangos and the Fruitas and the Centrals of the world. It’s making them better. Our girls aren’t going to shy away from competition. Playing bigger schools, it helps us get better. They’ve been working really hard, and I’m proud of them.”

Devils coach Vinnie Cisneros was also proud of the effort from his squad after arriving home late Wednesday night.

“Honestly, I was kind of nervous, playing back-to-backs like this, you never want to come out flat, with no energy.” Cisneros said. “It doesn’t matter who the opponent is, I’m glad that we came out and were able to play well. We ended up getting a lot of people some rest and a lot of people on the floor and got some production. Everything about it was pretty good.”

He was especially excited about sophomore Abigail Talbot’s eight points off the bench.

“We call her the mid-range assassin,” he said. “She really does have a phenomenal jump shot and tonight was just one of those occasions where she was able to showcase it. It was great to get her to take the lid off the basket. It was fun to watch.”

Devils junior Josie Fitzsimmons, Eagle Valley’s leading scorer, led all players Thursday with 11 points while junior Kassie Carpenter finished with 10.

Talbot, after getting hot early in her best game of the season, was all smiles after the win.

“I just need to get past the first couple shots,” she said. “And usually when I miss, I stop (shooting). But I didn’t let that happen today.  It was really good for our team to get two wins under our belt as we prepare for Montrose. It’s given us more energy as a team.”

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