It’s into final stretch drive for winter sports | VailDaily.com

It’s into final stretch drive for winter sports

Chris Freud

And down the stretch they come.

The following random musings are brought to you by San Francisco Giants play—by-play man Duane Kuiper, who yelled, "And down the stretch they come," one time when the rather portly Pablo Sandoval was legging out a triple during a game — he was safe and his slide into third set off seismic readers throughout the country.

As I gear up for the Giants reporting to spring training, a look at all things Devils, Gore Rangers, Huskies and Saints.

Skiing

We've got a last-chance slalom at the Beav' today and a classic in Frisco on Saturday. We'll say it now. Both state titles are the Vail Mountain School's to lose. On the Nordic side of things, the Gore Rangers are just stacked.

It's so ironic. Most ski teams are loaded on the alpine side of things and try to get some Nordic athletes to put up some points. VMS is the opposite. This is the Vail Nordic School. VNS/VMS crushed the field without one of its top male racers last weekend at Maloit Park.

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The emergence of VMS' alpine team has enables the Gore Rangers to compete statewide.

This said, nothing is ever guaranteed at the state meet. Just ask the Battle Mountain boys about last year. The Huskies looked like they were out of it until Aspen's third alpiner DNF'd on Day 2, and that turned the entire race on its ear, resulting in a happy conclusion — Battle Mountain's second straight crown.

The key for VMS is to put together two runs on the alpine side of things — get down the hill, score points and let the Nordic teams do their thing.

Hockey

So is there a game tonight? According to rating-percentage index, it's No. 8 Resurrection Christian (10-3) vs. No. 13 Battle Mountain (11-1-3) at the Eagle Pool & Ice Rink at 5:30 p.m.

Put the RPI and the Peak Conference standings away, guys and gals. We go to Herb Brooks here. "Play your game." That starts from the net and moves out, defense-first hockey.

By the way, how funny is that? When this program started, it had offense to spare and no goalie. Now, coach Dennis Hextall has the luxury of two keepers in Max Clark and Declan Rooney.

Go Team United Nations.

Class 2A basketball

• Great regular season, VMS. Now you have to take it on yourselves to keep playing and practicing to stay sharp for districts. Yes, the school calendar makes it tough to play your final game two weeks before the postseason, but you've come to far to leave it at this.

• Seb went for 45? Holy cow. I've been doing this for nearly 20 years and I don't remember anyone scoring 40-plus in a high school game. Sebastian Moritz, I hope you've enjoyed it — and rightly so — but let the game come to you and the rest of the Saints this weekend against Cedaredge and Caprock. Don't force it.

Class 4A basketball

• I'm very proud of the Devils boys after their win against Rifle. Good win — now do it again. That's one win without Jimmy Murphy. We need more, and it's still going to be an adjustment. No one has to be a super hero here to replace Jimmy. Just do your jobs, fellas.

• Battle Mountain boys basketball gets back to it tonight when it hosts Glenwood Springs. We need to find that elusive 32 minutes. The Huskies have the pieces. When I step back and look at the roster, I like it. You guys just need to put it together.

• Sweet moment: It's no secret that Eagle Valley and Battle Mountain scout each other in everything, so it was no surprise that Huskies assistant Vinny Cisneros was at Tuesday's Devils-Bears game. In tow was also Calvin Cisneros, 3, who could not understand why "coach" wasn't also at the game. If Calvin's at a basketball game, then "coach" has got to be there, and the kid could not fathom why he wasn't there.

No worries, Calvin, coach Philip Tronsrue was scouting Glenwood Springs-Summit County.

• Eagle Valley girls, you need to bounce back. You've got everything you need in the locker room to make a postseason run. It's a matter of consistency.

• The Battle Mountain girls have fallen out of the top 48 in RPI, despite a 12-7 record. I'm not going to argue the fact that the Huskies schedule has been understandably light given the program's lack of success for ages. You still control your destiny with games against Glenwood, Eagle Valley and Palisade. Win and you're in the running.

• Anyone doing anything on Thursday? We never look ahead in this space, but … it's Eagle Valley at Battle Mountain.

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