Huskies hockey in final four |

Huskies hockey in final four

John Knauf

Everybody expected it. Now, it’s reality. The Battle Mountain hockey team coasted through the first two rounds of the state playoffs and is now ready for the state semifinals beginning Friday, Feb. 28, at the Air Force Academy.The Huskies (17-1) will battle Kent Denver (16-2) at 5 p.m. on Friday and will advance to the championship game on Saturday if they can beat the Devils for a second time this year.Aspen and Cheyenne Mountain face off in the other semifinal game on Friday. If things go as expected, the Huskies and Cheyenne Mountain (17-1) will play Saturday in a rematch of last year’s championship game that Cheyenne Mountain won in overtime. The Huskies, however, don’t want to look too far ahead.”Kent is a very physical team and they really use a lot of trench warfare down there,” said Battle Mountain head coach Jade Kersey. “We need to capitalize on our biggest asset, which is our speed and getting the puck quickly through the neutral zone.”If the Huskies can get past Kent Denver, the championship game will begin at 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 1. Both potential opponents offer unique challenges.”Aspen is an explosive offensive team that can come back on you and score in bunches,” Kersey said. “Cheyenne Mountain has one very strong line and three very solid lines. They run teams down with all their depth.”In skiing, Feb. 21-22 was a great weekend for Vail Mountain School skiers. Sylvan Ellefson and Courtney Robinson won the coveted Skimeister awards as the best all-around high school skiers in Colorado for 2003. The awards came in the wake of the state championship alpine and Nordic events, which were held in Vail.Behind Ellefson on the boy’s side of the Skimeister awards were Vail Mountain School’s Duncan Robinson and Josh Smith. On the girl’s side, Haleigh Armstrong finished second.In the actual championship events, local skiers with top 10 finishes included Robinson, who placed fifth in the slalom and eighth in the giant slalom. In the Nordic classic, Ellefson placed 10th.On the girls side, Battle Mountain’s Erika Ghent placed fourth in the giant slalom, while Courtney Robinson of Vail Mountain School and Lauren Arnold of Battle Mountain placed eighth and ninth in the slalom. Armstrong, of Vail Mountain School, picked up a third place in the Nordic classic.Some surprises in basketball over the last week. The Eagle Valley boys atoned for two early season losses to Hotchkiss with a 69-65 overtime win. Senior Craig Jagger paced the Devils with 30 points, including a game-tying shot with seconds to go in regulation. The win sets up a district playoff game against top ranked Cedaredge on Friday, Feb. 28, at Palisade and assures the Devils of a regional playoff spot next week.”Craig had his best game ever as an Eagle Valley Devil,” said head coach Phil Cain. “He kept us in it for a long time and did it on the outside, inside, and with penetration.”With four wins in a row, the Devils are peaking at the right time.”We’ve learned how to win close games here at the end of the season,” Cain said. “That’s been the most important thing we’ve done in the last four games.”At Battle Mountain, both the girls and boys won in upsets over Delta to advance to the district playoffs. The girls won for the second time this season and face an extremely difficult test in the playoffs. The boys, meanwhile, used much better discipline in their 54-51 victory.”The biggest thing is we’re starting to play together as a team,” said Husky coach Phil Tronsrue. “We had been too selfish, but we now realize we don’t have to shoot the ball right away and can work the ball to get a good shot or get to the free throw line.”Finally, in wrestling, congratulations to Eagle Valley’s Tim Reitz and Jeff Bair. They placed fourth in the state championship wrestling tournament. Chris Harvey and Mason Ewing also placed sixth in their classifications. q– John Knauf

Support Local Journalism