Battle Mountain boys lose close one to Palisade | VailDaily.com

Battle Mountain boys lose close one to Palisade

EDWARDS — The return of meaningful February basketball to Battle Mountain was a success in all but one respect.

Palisade came away with a 45-42 win against Battle Mountain boys basketball in a meat-grinder of a game.

"Obviously we can compete at this level, and that's a good thing to take out of it," said Huskies coach Phil Tronsrue, whose team got hammered earlier in the season down at Palisade. "I think that's a real positive. We didn't succumb to their physicality."

The Huskies (10-8 overall and 7-5 in the 4A Slope, played superb defensively in battle for second place in the league. Battle Mountain fell behind early, but started crawling back with a 6-0 run — Devin Huffman once and Jack Skidmore twice — to tie it all with 6:02 left in the first half.

During the second quarter, Abdoulaye Dath knocked down a 3-pointer to tie it at 14, and Demetrius Parrish had a lay in to give the Huskies a 16-14 lead with 1:42 to go.

The visiting Bulldogs extended an 18-16 halftime lead with a 3-pointer from Max Noland and a P.D. Riddle bucket.

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Perhaps a key turning point came with 4:09 left in the third quarter when Dath was called for a charge and picked up a technical foul for arguing the call. That sent him to the bench with four fouls.

Battle Mountain, already struggling on the boards, had more problems there.

"Rebounding was difficult," Tronsrue said. "That was something we talked about at halftime, and it didn't get better in the second half. We have to have a desire to get those rebounds. We need an urgency. We have to work on that."

Trailing by as much as nine points, the Huskies kept fighting with shots from beyond the arc from Dante Hernandez and Miles Joersz.

The Huskies got it within 31-29 late in the third quarter and to 33-32 with 7:19 left in the game. Riddle jarred a seconds after the Huskies drew to within a point and the Battle Mountain was climbing uphill for the rest of the contest.

Joerz ended up topping the Huskies with 14 points, while Dath had 11.

While Battle Mountain came up short in its bid for its first five-game winning streak since the beginning of the 2012-13 season, the Huskies are very much still in the hunt for the district tournament.

Palisade girls close to league crown

Palisade girls basketball continues to rule the roost when it comes to 4A Slope basketball as the Bulldogs won their 28th league game in a row, dating back to 2014, cruising past Battle Mountain, 56-28, on Friday night in Edwards.

Palisade moved to 11-0 in circuit and can clinch its second consecutive Slope title with a win today up in Summit County.

The Huskies' two losses this week — they fell at Summit on Tuesday — also have Battle Mountain on the outside, looking, in, when it comes to the district-playoff picture. The top-five teams from the Slope advance to Grand Junction to form an eight-team tournament with the Southwestern League in fewer than two weeks.

Battle Mountain at 3-9 in the Slope, sits a game-and-a-half behind Delta and Summit (4-7), teams which hold down the league's last two invites to Grand Junction, with two games left on the league slate.

Palisade's Ashlyn Brown led the Bulldogs with 19 points, while Monique Stevens topped the Huskies with 12.

Both Battle Mountain teams host Steamboat Springs on Tuesday at 6 and 7:30 p.m.

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