Battle Mountain girls beat Palisade for first time since 2012
EDWARDS — There have been years that Battle Mountain girls’ basketball has not won five games.
So this year’s edition is pretty darn excited that the Huskies are riding a five-game winning streak after beating Palisade, 41-38, on Tuesday in Edwards.
Then, there’s the matter of Palisade. The Battle Mountain girls had lost 12 straight games to the Bulldogs, dating back to Feb. 17, 2012.
“I knew we hadn’t beaten them in my time here,” senior Claire Krueger said. “I didn’t know it wasn’t that long. It’s really exciting where we’re going.”
We are in a brand new world when the Huskies (7-6, 3-0) are tied atop the 4A Slope with Glenwood Springs in the middle of January.
“We’re definitely working more as a team, and the team is winning games,” Huskies coach Kindi Backstrom said. “They’re definitely clicking more and more. I’m very proud of them. My assistant coaches are great. We are definitely working on the fundamentals.”
The Huskies were in control most of the way, but were only up 31-30 during the fourth quarter, having frittered away a 10-point lead earlier in the game.
Battle Mountain showed solid game-situation awareness, capitalizing off Palisade’s foul trouble. In these situations, you go to the hole and get the bucket or the free throws. Gabby Caballero spent a good portion of the fourth quarter at the charity stripe on her way to a team-high 14 points.
Krueger, who’s been on this team since she was a freshman, used that experience with a hard move to the basket to get a foul, followed by a big stop on defense.
As a bit of trivia, then-sophomore Ali Teague had three points during the last time the Huskies beat the Bulldogs back in February 2012. This is a way of saying Audrey Teague’s layup gave the Huskies a 37-30 lead.
“Never heard of her,” Audrey joked about Ali.
Younger Teague had 11 points.
Caballero sank three more clutch freebies in the waning seconds to ice the game.
“I believe in Gabby making those free throws,” Krueger said. “She’ll make ’em.”
She did and the Huskies gained some valuable experience for the rest of the season.
“It definitely helps with future games,” Backstrom said. “You can’t simulate this in practice. It gives us that experience of fighting a team neck-and-neck to the end.”
Huskies boys fall to Bulldogs
Let’s make this clear — Battle Mountain coach Philip Tronsrue was not complaining about the refereeing after the Huskies lost to Palisade, 65-56, in Tuesday evening’s nightcap.
The Huskies committed a whopping five charges against the Bulldogs.
“I think guys got a little frustrated that the officials were making some calls,” Tronsrue said. “But our response was, ‘Then learn from the what the officials are calling.’ I don’t think that we ever learned.”
That would be Tronsrue-ese for: “After the second charge, don’t go through the guy as you go to the hole. Pull up for the jumper.”
That was one of many things that handicapped the Huskies (6-7, 2-1) on Tuesday night.
Another was rebounding. The Bulldogs did a number, especially on their offensive end, allowing numerous second and third chances.
“Sometimes, I don’t think we go get the ball,” the Huskies coach said. “I think we want the ball to come to us, and that’s something we talked about.”
And, despite all of the above, the Huskies were still in the game. They were within four during the third quarter and pulled within sixth during the fourth. The big question is whether these miscues carry over to Friday and a big showdown at Steamboat Springs.
The Sailors are 11-2 and ranked fourth in the rating-percentage index.