Castillo, Zapata named first-team all-league
Vail, CO Colorado
GYPSUM, Colorado ” Eagle Valley certainly kept its basketball trainers busy last season.
Mounting injuries, though, couldn’t stop the Devils from giving their best on a nightly basis. The girls team earned a trip to the state tournament, while the boys sent out the Eagle Valley gym in style with a win over Battle Mountain.
For their hard work, the Devils’ Brenda Zapata and Cesar Castillo were named first-team all-league in the 4A Western Slope. Yvette Parra and Kacey Bair earned honorable mention by league coaches.
Castillo’s rise to the first team was impressive. Before the season started, Castillo suffered a serious ankle injury. Even when he came back after missing time, Castillo was only 75 percent healthy, Eagle Valley coach Pat Gabriel said.
Still, he managed to lead the Devils with 255 points ” an average of 11 per game.
“He just had, as they say, mad skills,” Gabriel said. “He was very skilled and talented with the ball. He was a star. He’s a great kid.”
Eagle Valley went 4-18 this season, but Gabriel said the players kept playing hard. In their last home game, the Devils beat Battle Mountain, 62-52.
“They were really fun to be around,” Gabriel said. “It was absolutely joyful to be with the kids.”
The Eagle Valley girls team also had a lot of fun. The Devils clinched a playoff berth behind Zapata, Parra and Bair’s strong play.
Zapata was new to Eagle Valley last season, but she made a seamless transition on the basketball court. The junior led the Devils with 13.1 points per game. Unfortunately, Zapata went down with a serious left knee injury against Battle Mountain right before the state tournament.
Eagle Valley coach Ken Reagan is excited to see Zapata back in uniform next season.
“At the beginning of the season, she had to get used to what her role was,” Reagan said. “Her role was being a scorer, and being a point guard. She also created things off her dribble. That was her biggest asset this year.”
While Zapata was new to the team, Bair was a four-year varsity player. The senior earned a honorable-mention selection after averaging 10.8 points per game and more than 10 rebounds per contest.
“A lot of her points came off rebounds and having her putting it back in,” Reagan said. “She was a huge part of her offense in the beginning of the season until other people found their footing. She did an awesome job as a senior.”
Parra was Eagle Valley’s best offensive threat from long range. She finished the season averaging more than eight points per game.
“Her defense was awesome,” Reagan said. “She found her shot in the middle of the year. Her last game, she had 10 points in the first half. A lot of teams knew her as the little feisty guard Eagle Valley had.”
Sports Writer Ian Smith can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.