Any big games on Friday?
VAIL CO, COLORADO
OK, it’s rivalry and regional week.
Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley hoops meet in Gypsum on Friday. DeBeque calls on Vail Christian the same night, and the wrestling teams head to Craig for regionals.
And yes, Battle Mountain hockey is closing out the regular season.
With all this in mind, we present this week’s grab bag:
– The last time the Devils and Huskies met up, we saw a free-throw shooting clinic by the Lady Huskies, and Eagle Valley’s Cesar Castillo knock down a 3-pointer at the buzzer as the teams split. What was most notable about these games was that the 4A county rivalry actually lived up to the billing.
In football, baseball wrestling and, usually, basketball, the Devils are kings of this stretch of Interstate 70. In the realms of soccer and volleyball, it’s the Huskies. It was really cool to see a packed gym and two great see-saw games last month.
– Pat Gabriel’s Eagle Valley boys have to be the favorites going into Friday night’s game, but the Huskies can play with the Devils. As Battle Mountain coach Philip Tronsrue rightly pointed out, the Huskies should have closed the door on Eagle Valley by 15 points in the second quarter last month instead of letting it come down to seconds and Castillo’s 3.
That having been said, that’s part of the learning curve the Huskies are experiencing. They’ve been competitive, but learning how to win is the next step.
On the other side of the ledger, don’t expect Scott House to get in foul trouble like he did in January, and though home court is a toss-up in this series with only 30 miles separating the schools, Eagle Valley’s much better at home.
– As for the ladies, who’s going to show up Friday? Both teams have struggled all season with starting off the game well. Eagle Valley went scoreless against the Huskies in the first quarter last month, but rallied furiously before falling.
– Moving to Vail Christian vs. DeBeque, it was interesting watching Jaryd Francis (shoulder injury) not play Saturday against Ridgway, though probably not so interesting for him. He really wanted to play. That had to have been weird for him. He’s played since he was a little freshman. OK, not that little.
– Painful as it was for Francis to watch, the Saints’ balanced effort was stellar. What makes this team intriguing is the possibility of it all coming together. We know Francis can bring it. Point guard Will Parker can be explosive, as is A.J. Burgess. Chris Schmidt’s had some good games as of late. Props to Jason Propp. (I wanted to say that all day Saturday). He can play. So can Larry Cavanaugh. If these guys come together at the right time, this could be scary fun, except for the fact that coach Sheldon Kuhns wouldn’t turn purple, which is always amusing.
– With the win against Ridgway, the curse is off me. The Saints had been 0-2 with me and 9-2 without the one who has the Elliot Ristow-like ‘fro. I’m no longer a walking losing streak.
– New Vail Christian gym suggestion: King Dome. It leads the Mutter Dome by a hair.
– Each time you think you can count out the Lady Saints, they show you something. It’s been amazing to watch this year. That having been said, they’ve got no chance against anyone this week.
– Regional wrestling time: Chad Strakbein to the white courtesy phone. Chad, you’ve been to state before. Right now Chad is saying, “No kidding, Freud. I remember that.” Coaches Ron Beard and Luke Cross ” it’s still a bit bizarre that he’s in Gypsum, having graduated from Battle Mountain in 2000 ” have been talking about the senior’s leadership, and rightfully so. Show these guys the way, Chad.
– Congratulations to the Peak Conference champion, Battle Mountain hockey. The Huskies have assembled a 13-game winning streak, ho-hum. But that’s step one. Step two is beating Steamboat Springs on Wednesday and Pine Creek on Friday. Step three is winning the whole darn thing. The talent is in the room.
– One week to the beginning of spring practice. Get the sun-tan lotion out.