Devils boys basketball beats Palisade, 64-55
GYPSUM — Eagle Valley boys basketball played to the physicality of Palisade in its second league win in as many nights on Saturday, and the auxiliary gym was rocking as the Devils won, 64-55.
After the girls fell to the Bulldogs, 49-43, in a fourth-quarter comeback in the school’s traditional, but frosty gymnasium with no heat, the action moved to the auxiliary gym for the boys game against the No. 2 team in the 4A Slope.
Trailing 48-43 halfway through the fourth quarter, Garrett Martin pulled down one of his many offensive rebounds and put it back up to pull it to a one-possession game. On the other end, he grabbed the defensive rebound, setting up Jimmy Murphy for the game-tying 3.
The Devils would hold lead from that point on, making eight of 12 free throws down the stretch.
“It’s pretty big,” said coach Chris Walls. “They’re a physical team. We knew that and that they’d be aggressive. They’re No. 2 in the conference for a reason.”
Rebounds proved key for Eagle Valley, with bigs Dawson Keller, Jesus Loera, Jake McGinty and Martin cleaning the glass.
“We knew if we got a little more physical that we’d have a good shot,” Walls said. “Garrett Martin was huge for us just as a physical presence.”
The Devils beat Delta on Friday night, snapping a four-game losing streak, and the team rallied for its win Saturday against the Bulldogs.
“They’re a really aggressive team and really strong kids and we did our best to match them,” said Jesus Loera, who led the team with 21 points, “And thankfully that worked out.”
Up next is a rematch at Battle Mountain on Thursday. The Devils (5-9, 3-5) fell to the Huskies in overtime, 57-54, in the first matchup this season.
“That one hurt, but we’ve come a long way since then, as I’m sure they have, too,” Loera said. “We’re definitely looking forward to it, and I’m sure they are, too.”
LADY DEVILS CAN’T HOLD ON
Eagle Valley’s girls basketball team led for most of its matchup with the Bulldogs.
Ashley Floyd hit a jumper from the elbow for the early 5-4 lead. She followed that up with a 3 and two floaters in the lane, giving the Devils a 12-4 lead.
The lead wouldn’t surpass more than 10 points the whole game as Palisade stuck around, finally regaining, and maintaining, the lead halfway through the fourth quarter.
“Palisade is a premier team in the league,” said coach Sam Bartlett. “They’re undefeated in our league right now, and it was just good to play for first place this late in the season.”
The Devils played strong defense, forcing turnovers and setting up transition points along the way. The offense was clicking, with Floyd scoring nine points in the first quarter. Kylie Martin had a team-high 17 points, and Raquel Pereida displayed her ball handling with dazzling passes through, and around, multiple defenders.
Pereida, Floyd, Victoria Schwaiger and the rest of the Devils were efficient breaking the Bulldogs press, up until the final four minutes of the game, where turnovers eliminated any chance the Devils had.
“We threw the ball away too much in the press,” Bartlett said. “Our fourth quarters have kind of been our nemesis up to this point.”
Jaycey Beard and Cassie Jaramillo provided relief off the bench as the Devils defensive press kept the game fast paced. Beard took a charge soon after entering the game and later grabbed an offensive rebound and finished the put back.
The Bulldogs rallied behind a 12-0 run starting midway through the fourth and anchored by their press defense.
“It would have been nice,” Floyd said. “I think they got more aggressive, and we got a little less aggressive.”
The Devils (9-5, 6-2) will end their regular season on Feb. 13 on the road at Palisade, but the rivalry rematch at Battle Mountain is up next on Thursday.
“I’m excited about that one,” Floyd said.
Reporter Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2915 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.