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Battle Mountain basketball takes down Evergreen

Huskies topple No. 3-ranked Cougars

He wasn't wearing the jacket on Friday night, but Battle Mountain's Phill Tronsrue and the Huskies had a little magic beating Evergreen, 59-57, on the road.
Rex Keep | Special to the Daily

It’s only December. The goal is big wins in late February and March, but …

Battle Mountain boys’ basketball knocked off No.3-ranked Evergreen on the road, 59-57, on Friday night.

“The thing we talked about is that we can compete with high-level teams,” Huskies coach Philip Tronsrue said. “We need to learn how to win.”

At the season-opening Green Mountain tourney, Battle Mountain took the hosts (ranked No. 2 as of Saturday) to double overtime before falling 55-50. The Huskies also hung with a strong 5A Palmer squad in 68-60 loss.

Being competitive is promising. Getting over the hump is even better.

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Something to watch from this one was that the Huskies had four different players in double digits— Owen Ruotolo (15 points), Liam McKenny (14), Luis Trillo (13) and Hakeen Dath (11).

That obviously makes a team hard to defend, but what is fun is that this quartet has different ways of scoring. McKenny is a threat mid-range and in the paint. Trillo is more of a perimeter guy. Dath slashes to the hoop and Ruotolo can strike both inside and outside.

That’s a nice pick-your-poison combination.

“Liam struggled a little bit early with his shot, but Owen and Louis and Hakeem put some shots down,” Tronsrue said. “If we get four guys in double digits, we’re going to be tough to handle.”

After the team’s win earlier in the week against John F. Kennedy, Tronsrue wanted to see his team kick up the intensity a few notches, avoiding the lulls that plague all basketball teams. By and large, the Huskies were steady. After trailing for most of the first half, the Huskies took the lead in the second.

Battle Mountain (3-2) built its lead to nine points, necessary to absorb the requisite Evergreen rallies, a few times during the fourth quarter.

Not only is it always good to win in a rowdy Front Range gym, but the Huskies owed the Cougars. The two teams have played the last three years with Evergreen winning each of the meetings (65-45, 2018; 58-56, overtime, 2017; and 78-54, 2016). And for those who have some institutional memory, Evergreen knocked off the Huskies back in the 4A state Round of 16, 53-50, back in 2006 in Grand Junction.

Call this a nice way to go into the holiday break.

The Huskies restart after the break at Grand Junction Central on Jan. 4.


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