Freud: Huskies and Saints renew basketball rivalry and other preps roundups (column) | VailDaily.com

Freud: Huskies and Saints renew basketball rivalry and other preps roundups (column)

Chris Freud

Don't get me wrong — I loved covering the Xfinity Birds of Prey Audi FIS Ski World Cup, except for repeated typing of the formal name of that event.

But as the best skiers in the world are competing, I always hate missing the start of winter preps, and most particularly, the traditional Battle Mountain-Vail Christian boys basketball game.

With the disclaimer that we love all things Devils, Gore Rangers and Saints, there's something fun about Huskies at Saints because it's a fun gym — the campuses are separated by 3 miles. It's a friendly rivalry, even though smack talk is obligatory.

And a lot of times, these kids were on the same team — Battle Mountain soccer — during the fall.

Not surprisingly the Huskies boys got the better of the Saints, 74-49, last weekend, the first of two wins for Phil Tronsrue's club (Cedaredge, 71-37).

I'd always like to see this game played later for two reasons. The first is obvious — I could watch. But also because I think that this would be a more competitive game in February.

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Of any of our seven basketball teams, Vail Christian's boys always seem to have the steepest learning curve as the season progresses. There are years the Saints look solid early and there are seasons when Sheldon Kuhns' crew is young, or more specifically young in basketball experience.

This is the latter, having graduated Sebastian Moritz, Bryan Trujillo, Joseph "Stop calling me Teller" Emmer and the redhead, whose name escapes me for the moment. (Ethan, you better be getting good grades at school, or I'll thrash you. He'd doubtless thrash me, but you get the picture. Study, kid.)

The evaluation from this year's Battle Mountain-Vail Christian game is the same as always. Battle Mountain's road gets steeper after the first weekend. The Huskies play a tough schedule, which serves them well with regard to the ye olde rating percentage index.

As funny as it is having the Huskies ranked No. 4 as of this writing — I do think that Dr. Phil would agree that's a wee bit high, based on two games — their biggest task is figuring out life after Devin Huffman.

Meanwhile, the Saints will grow into their new roles, while returning essentially one starter in Zach McKeever, who's listed at 6 feet 4 inches tall, but could be 6 feet 7 inches tall if he didn't get a haircut recently.

Should be a fun season.

A quick tour around some of the stuff we missed last week.

Local rivalries

Eagle Valley boys basketball knocked off Vail Christian, 62-55, on Tuesday, Dec. 4. Your key stat was 15-0, the score after the first quarter. Congrats to new Devils coach Justin Brandt.

The above stat just emphasizes the development point we just made about Vail Christian basketball.

Vail Christian's boys did get a win over Vail Mountain, 61-24, last weekend. The two teams will see each other again during 2A Slope play.

On the ladies' side of things, Vail Christian is off to a 1-1 start after a 54-31 victory over Battle Mountain. Sarah Heredia had 25 and Abby Kuhns 19. Maybe Abby can teach her brother how to play basketball.

Vail Christian's loss came to Lake County. The Saints will have a chance to avenge that loss this weekend in Leadville. One of Lake County's assistant coaches is Doug Bruce. The Saints might have heard of him.

Huskies win, lose, win and tie

Take that, Tronsrue.

Battle Mountain girls basketball is 1-2 after beating Overland, 46-44, on Wednesday, Dec. 5. Before the first of his two tenures at Battle Mountain, Tronsrue coached at Overland.

Meanwhile on the ice, the Huskies are 1-1-1. They fell to then No. 2-ranked Valor Christian, 3-1, doubled up Heritage, 4-2, and earned a point against Cheyenne Mountain in a wild 7-7 tie.

Welcome to the world of coaching, Lord Byron. Derek Byron, Class of 2007, is the first Battle Mountain alumnus to coach the squad.

Team to watch

We saved what may be the best for last. Look out for Eagle Valley wrestling. The Devils return nine state qualifiers from last year's squad. Last weekend, they thrashed the field at the Buena Vista Dual Tournament.

Luke Morrissey (120 pounds), Kodi Raper (126), Lucas Comroe (132), Ryder Bossow (138), Noah Baldwin (152) and Davis Ward (182) were all 5-0 on the weekend.