Devils basketball outlasts Huskies in 3OT
Carlos Quezada's 3 finally does it
EDWARDS — Eagle Valley’s Carlos Quezada is the king of the world.
OK, maybe not, but he’s definitely the king of Gypsum and Eagle Valley. The senior’s 3-pointer with 1:02 remaining in triple overtime finally broke open a thrilling renewal of the Eagle Valley-Battle Mountain boys’ basketball rivalry in an 82-78 Devils’ win over the Huskies.
“This is our house,” chanted the Eagle Valley student section as the third overtime finally came to an end.
The Devils rooters have a point here — this is the second consecutive year that underdog Eagle Valley has come to Battle Mountain’s court and left with a win in classic fashion. Last year, the Devils beat the Huskies, 110-102 — in regulation.
Quezada’s 3 gave Eagle Valley (7-8 overall and 2-5 in the 4A Slope) a 79-76 lead with 62 ticks left. Teammates Jesse Moser added two free throws and Tony Hernandez one to ice the game and spark a delirious celebration on their rivals’ court.
Tied 55-55, Quezada started the first overtime with a 3, perhaps a sign of things to come. The Huskies’ Baker Gentry answered with his own trey. Battle Mountain’s Owen Ruotolo sank two free throws with 1:28 left in the first extra session. That was Huskies’ first lead of the game.
Gentry pushed Battle Mountain’s lead to 62-59, but Quezada — who else? — sent it to a second overtime with another 3 with 40 seconds left in overtime No. 1.
The two teams were tied seven different times during the extra 12 minutes. Battle Mountain appeared to get a break when the Devils’ Jacob Medina was called for the intentional foul on Gentry with 54 seconds left in overtime No. 2.
Gentry hit a free throw to make it 72-70 in favor of the Huskies with Battle Mountain (7-9, 3-3) maintaining possession. But the Huskies couldn’t convert on the opportunity. With 33 seconds left in double overtime, the Devils’ Tony Hernandez sank two freebies to tie it at 72, and both teams were off to a third four-minute period.
Gustavo Carrillo started the third OT layup to give the Huskies a 74-72 lead. Hernandez answered with his own layup. Battle Mountain’s Uziel Olivas swished two free throws with 3 minutes left, and Hernandez responded with two from the charity stripe. Hernandez, as Devils fans may recall, is darn clutch from the line. He knocked down two from the free-throw line with no time left last year to beat Rifle, 76-74.
That set up Quezada’s 3, giving the Devils an epic victory.
Huskies’ 3s lift girls
Battle Mountain girls’ basketball officially reached the halfway mark of the 4A Slope season with a 71-56 win over Eagle Valley on Tuesday in Edwards.
At 5-1, the Huskies are tied with Glenwood Springs atop the league standings, but hold the tiebreaker with the Demons, having beaten them on Friday.
One of the many reasons the Huskies (9-7) are having a renaissance is the 3-pointer, which was on full display against the Devils. While the Golden State Warriors have made an art form of the shot in the NBA, it’s simple math and a game changer in Western Slope basketball.
Eagle Valley (2-13 overall and 0-7 in the Slope), a team that has been struggling on offense all season, was averaging 28 points per game going into Tuesday night’s game. The Huskies hit 11 3s Tuesday night, so that’s 33 points on the board without a regular field goal or a free throw, or more than the Devils’ season average and 59 percent of the 56 points Eagle Valley scored on Tuesday.
“(Coach Kindi Backstrom) just tells us to shoot if we’re open,” Huskies sophomore Gabby Caballero said. “If it’s not open, just swing it around until it is.”
With coach Backstrom was out with the flu on Tuesday with assistant coach Sarah Brubeck filling in, it’s clear Battle Mountain has learned the lesson well.
While the Huskies obviously had a great night from behind the arc, the strategy applies against Glenwood Springs (averaging 42.7 points per game) and Rifle (33.1 per game), the two teams challenging Battle Mountain for Slope supremacy. Hit seven 3s per game and the Battle Mountain is halfway to its opponent’s average.
Gabby Caballero led the charge with 30 points, while Audrey Teague had three 3s on her way to 15 points.
The 3 can also mask a lot of issues, like during the third quarter when Eagle Valley gamely rallied with 15-5 run. The only problem? Battle Mountain was already up 41-24 at the time.
“It’s a huge momentum changer,” Brubeck said. “We really needed it after the second and third quarters. The team did a good job of getting each other open and they started to fall. Coach Backstrom has worked with them on getting their hands and their feet in the right positions. And it helps to have multiple 3-point shooters on the team.”
Of course, what’s good for the goose is also good for the gander. The Devils’ had six 3s of their own, including some successful shots from Wolcott by Mady Callis.
“Way better,” Devils coach Beth Raitt said. “We found our offense tonight.”
The big danger with the downtown shot is that it’s a fickle beast. To that end, it’s helpful to have good rebounders like Eleanor Sheahan, Claire Krueger and Teague (when she’s not shooting 3s) to grab the errant shots and put them back for the conventional 2-pointers.
As if to illustrate the point, Krueger had 12 points and Sheahan eight, to go with a heap of rebounds for both.
Battle Mountain heads over the pass for a pair of games against Summit on Friday, while the Devils host Palisade.
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