Battle Mountain sweeps past Delta
“Both Battle Mountain (basketball) teams are going to districts,” said Huskies boys coach Philip Tronsrue by phone Tuesday night.
Yes, it was good news on all fronts for Huskies hoops in pigtail games play Tuesday night. Both Huskies teams are off to districts in Palisade, starting Thursday.
The Huskies girls, as expected, delighted the home crowd with a 50-41 win over Delta. Meanwhile, the Huskies boys pulled the upset on the road, beating the Panthers, 58-49.
And, for the boys’ team there was a palpable sense of relief. It was the team’s first win since Dec. 13, 2003.
“It’s been a 15-game losing streak,” Tronsrue said. “It was getting old. … One of the things I kept preaching in the last go-round through league is that we were not playing for 32 minutes. We’d have two-, four- or six-minute lapses. We just had to keep persevering and keep believing that the tide’s going to change. Tonight, we played a really solid game on both sides of the floor.”
It also doesn’t hurt when you outscore a team, 12-4, on its home court in the first quarter and lead, 30-15, at intermission.
“We jumped on them right away,” Tronsrue said. “But, we were in the same position two weeks ago when we played them and were leading, 26-16, at the half. That day, we came out and didn’t handle the pressure. Tonight, we handled it better.”
The Huskies definitely showed no nerves in the fourth quarter. Battle Mountain was 10-for-14 from the line in the final eight minutes. Another key, according to the coach, was the aggressive defensive play of Chris Romero who shut down Delta’s No. 2 scorer, Steve Morales.
On offense, Derek Rush led the way with 15 points. Connor Drumm had another double-double with 12 points and 12 swipes of the glass. Thomas Pacheco also chipped in 12 points.
The Battle Mountain boys start district play Thursday at 8:15 p.m. in palisade against Steamboat Springs.
Lady Huskies push past Panthers
It took a little while, but once the Battle Mountain girls basketball team got it going, there was no doubt that the Huskies were heading to districts for the second year in a row.
The Huskies used 9-1 run to close the first half, some shooting from downtown in the second half and a tenacious press to defeat Delta, 50-41, Tuesday night.
“We say that championships are won by defense, so we’ve been concentrating playing defense, being aggressive, trying to stay out of foul trouble and play with our feet instead of slapping at them,” Huskies coach David Hite said.
That was the general game plan, but the Huskies weren’t executing on offense for most of the first half. Much to Hite’s chagrin, the Huskies seemed to be throwing up shot after shot from the outside.
“First off, I think it was little case of the nerves,” Hite said. “Second, we preached in the locker room even before we came out that we needed to drive the ball to the basket all the time.”
The Huskies started doing that with two minutes to go in the first half. Alexis Guinn, who led all Huskies with 18 points, canned an 18-footer. to cut Delta’s lead to 22-16. Sara LyBarger got the crowd on its feet with a three-point play and then tied the game at 23 with an eight-footer to end the half.
“We actually ran our offense,” LyBarger said. “Instead of standing around, we passed the ball outside and made some good shots.”
Shooting was the story of the third quarter as the Huskies outscored Delta, 14-2, behind four treys. LyBarger’s first 3 came with 2:57 left in the third to give Battle Mountain the lead for good at 28-25. Guinn made it, 31-25, with another shot from behind the arc.
In the final minute of the period, the duo combined for two more 3-pointers and the Huskies had al but clinched the game, leading 37-25 at the end of 24 minutes.
LyBarger finished with 15 points, while Meagan Reigel had 10 boards and Lauren Prewitt pulled down nine.
Battle Mountain starts districts with Rifle at 3 p.m. in Palisade on Thursday.