Battle Mountain passes the test
EAGLE-VAIL – Friday night’s Battle Mountain-Palisade boys basketball game was one that the Huskies would not have won last year.The Huskies lost half of their Twin Towers when Trent Beckley collected his second technical foul of night with 7:29 left in the third quarter and they faced a test of sorts.But behind strong performances from Tower No. 1 – Connor Drumm -Derek Rush and Clark Simmons, Battle Mountain steadied the ship for a 62-48 win.”That shows some of our maturity,” said Huskies coach Philip Tronsrue, whose team moved to 5-1 in the Slope and 12-2 overall. “A year ago, we would have collapsed, gone crazy on the officials … We would have lost our composure. I think it really helped that Clark Simmons came off the bench and gave us some baskets. He took care of business a couple of times. We got layups out of him, and that was good. That kept that lead where it needed to be. A year ago, I don’t know who we would have stuck in that spot.”Simmons went into that spot and played well with six second-half points.”I had to go in and do just what I had to do,” Simmons said. “I did what Coach expected of me. I made a few sloppy mistakes, but all and all, we got the business done.”
The big guyOf course, it doesn’t hurt to have Drumm. The big guy poured in 29 points, matching his season high, including 12 in the second half when Beckley was out.”That’s a good player. He knew he needed to pick it up,” Tronsrue said. “He knew he needed to take over and that was what he did. He handled the ball when he needed to. He made sure we attacked the basket when we needed to. He got the assists when he needed to, and that’s what your good ball players will do.”Battle Mountain’s perimeter game has been carried by several different players this year. Friday night was Derek Rush Night. He put up 19 points to keep Palisade honest. Simmons also credited Rush and Drumm for keeping the team composed after Beckley’s ejection.Palisade coach Keenon Clement was not pleased with his team’s composure. He wanted his Bulldogs (3-3, 5-8) to attack inside with Beckley out of the game.”We told our kids to drive it in and shoot layups, but we just decided to shoot 15-footers and 3-pointers and not pass the ball and not attack,” Clement said.Battle Mountain jumped out to 14-1 lead in the first four minutes of the game and that margin held for the rest of the evening.The Huskies, who will be without the services of Beckley by CHSAA rule, head to Delta today for a 5:30 p.m. tip.
“It’s critical because Glenwood still has a game on us and we need to beat them next Friday,” Simmons said. “Hopefully, we can win out for the rest of the season and get a good seed for the playoffs.”Lady Huskies fallThere is a reason teams practice free throws early and often. They often win or lose games.Such was the case Friday night when the Battle Mountain and Palisade girls basketball teams met. The visiting Bulldogs went 8-for-8 from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter; the Huskies were 7-for-16 – and that was your ballgame as Palisade came away with a 45-38 win.”Free throws, free throws. We missed some key free throws and we’ve been good with free throws,” Huskies coach Ernesto Arredondo said. “I think today we just couldn’t get them in there.””It’s huge for us. We’ve been struggling with that all year,” said Palisade coach Jay Muller, whose team improved to 3-3 in the Slope and 8-5 overall. “It’s good to see us come through with that.”
The Huskies actually led 7-3 at the end of the first quarter. They overcame a six-point deficit in the second quarter with a 3 from Emily LyBarger and a pair of buckets from Kaeli Hosler for a 17-15 halftime advantage.Down six again in the fourth quarter, layups from Max Van Dyke and LyBarger pulled the Huskies even again at 31. Lauren Prewitt hit two free throws with five minutes to go and the Huskies led, 35-33.But then Palisade started hitting its freebies and Battle Mountain did not. The Bulldogs’ Abby Diers (6-for-6) and Kaitlyn Edmiston (2-for-2) slammed the door on the Huskies.Kelsey Sanders led the Huskies with 10 points, followed by LyBarger with eight. Battle Mountain (0-6, 2-11) is at Delta today at 4 p.m. Palisade hosts Eagle Valley at the same time.Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14630, or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail, Colorado