Cochrane leads Devils to win
GYPSUM – If ever a player was ready for senior night, it was Mary Cochrane Saturday. Cochrane, the Eagle Valley senior, was not pleased with her scoring production recently, and wanted to make something happen against Steamboat in her final home game.”In the past five games, I hadn’t been shooting well at all,” Cochrane said. “I came in early all week and worked on my shooting, and stayed after practice and took shots and said I had to do better.”Cochrane scored the Devils’ first 12 points, and Eagle Valley cruised to a 48-30 win – its first league victory this season.”The team I know in practice basically showed up,” said Devils’ coach Ken Reagan. “It was great – we took care of the ball, did stuff we wanted to do, instead of playing from behind. We could press when we wanted to press. We could run any offense we wanted to run against them and score.”
Eagle Valley outscored Steamboat 17-3 in the second quarter, and took a 30-12 lead into half. Steamboat then came out with some tempo in the third quarter.”We kind of had a downfall in the third quarter, and when it ended, I said, ‘This is my last quarter, that is it, we’ve got to get it back,'” Cochrane said.Jeanette Baker had another huge game for the Devils, netting a game-high 21 points, also picking up nine boards, five steals three assists and a block. Cochrane finished with 16 points and five boards, and fouled out with 11 seconds left to a standing ovation.”It was a great way to go out,” Cochrane said of the home win.In the last meeting between the two teams, Steamboat pulled out a 12-point win.”We just had some miscommunications and turnovers – things that had been hurting our team all year,” Cochrane said. “We put that out of our heads, and said this was a team we could beat, and we did.”Reagan hopes the late-season win help lift the spirit of his players and give them some confidence. “I’ve said all year, we’re a young team, and have two girls that have played varsity before, so for the team, it’s an uplifting fact that they can see themselves playing well against another team,” Reagan said. “That’ a big key for the girls going into the offseason.”
Righting the shipWith an energetic first-half performance on senior night, Eagle Valley looked to sink Steamboat’s hopes of an undefeated league record.But Steamboat coach Kelly Meek righted the Sailors’ with an impassioned speech, and his team stormed back for a 70-48 win Saturday night in Gypsum.”They brought more energy than we did, and were better prepared to play all the way from their players through their coaching staff,” Meek said. “Our guys lifted to the challenge that we put on them at halftime, because we got on them pretty good.”And it wasn’t so much that Eagle Valley cooled off in the second half, but more that Steamboat clamped down on the Devils.”They shut down their (defensive) gap,” said Eagle Valley coach Pat Gabriel. “They were playing with a little more gap than they normally do in the first, and in the second, they trimmed that and started knocking us around a little, and we stopped moving the basketball on the pass and started trying to dribble through it. And when you start doing that, you’re not going to be successful.”Steamboat’s Aaron Calkins netted a game-high 31 points, while teammate Michael Vandahl added 21, improving the Sailors’ record to 12-0 in the 4A Western Slope and 17-3 overall.”It’s an easy group to work with,” Labor said. “They don’t take anything personally. They hear the message.”Eagle Valley used some offensive firepower early on to take a 17-14 lead after eight minutes, then carried a 33-29 into the half.
“Everyone came out shooting well, we just couldn’t keep it up in the second half,” said Eagle Valley’s Danner Bartlett, one of six seniors. “We just couldn’t keep it up in the second half.”The Sailors exploded for 25 in the third and 16 in the fourth.”They backed up some to hit them, so they were shooting it pretty well,” Gabriel said.And the shots that were falling for the Devils early weren’t dropping.”It really hurts when you miss the shot,” Gabriel said. “If you hit the shot, you get excited and start building confidence.”Senior Matt Barker led the Devils with 16 points, followed by fellow seniors Bear Barkman (9), Bartlett (7), Mike Medsker (7) Mike Smith (6) and Jason Bair (3).Eagle Valley fell to 5-8 in the Slope, and will close out the regular season against Moffat County next weekend. With a win there, the boys can secure a playoff spot.Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.