Devils come back, get payback vs. Steamboat
GYPSUM — Sure, payback for a nonconference loss back in December is nice.
But the big takeaway from Eagle Valley boys basketball’s 60-55 win over Steamboat Springs on Tuesday night was that the Devils trailed by 10 points with 5:42 left in the first half.
A 10-point deficit against the Sailors, who generally run an offense that is so methodical that it would make the late Dean Smith blush, can seem like a lot more, particularly to a team like Eagle Valley, which likes to run.
Imagine running in quick sand.
“It’s very important for us to see that, mostly because we like to run,” Devils coach Chris Walls said. “We’re able to know that when we play a team that likes to play a bit slowly that we can methodically get give it back to them and get to where we want to be.”
The Devils tweaked its defense in the second half and surged to a conference win that has them leading the Slope at 5-1 after one loop through the league.
“When they were going strong side, we just moved one of our middle guys over — just a simple adjustment, but an effective one,” Wells said. “The guys handled it well.”
The Slope doesn’t have a Sixth Man Award, but said hypothetical honor would go to Eagle Valley’s Garrett Martin who popped two 3s to keep the Devils close during the last part of the second quarter. Martin finished with a game-high 23 points.
The Devils started to get some steals and rebounds on defense during the third quarter, during which Eagle Valley outscored Steamboat, 20-10. Those “small” plays got Eagle Valley (12-5) running enough.
By the end of the third quarter, Jimmy Murphy’s 3 and another Martin bucket with 49 seconds left in the period pulled the Devils within 42-41. Jesus Loera’s steal and layup gave the Devils the lead for good at 43-42 with 31 seconds left in the third.
While Martin had the flashy point total, Tuesday night was a good team win. Daswon Keller, Murphy and Jesus Loera were all in double digits.
Devils dust Sailors, 56-30
Eagle Valley girls basketball used a buzzer-beater to top Steamboat Springs on Tuesday night.
Please note the Devils didn’t need said buzzer-beater for an 56-30 win, but it was a cool moment — Regan Bossow nailed a 3 at the end of the first half to send Eagle Valley to the locker room with a 28-11 lead.
The Devils (11-6 overall and 4-2 in the Slope) got what they needed out this one — a quick win over the struggling Sailors (0-17). Eagle Valley didn’t let Steamboat stay close, a cardinal sin in such matchups.
“They played well tonight,” Devils coach Sam Bartlett said. “The main difference is that we took care of the basketball tonight. I believe we only had 10 turnovers, which allows us to get more shots.”
The Devils led 16-8 after one, thanks in part to the usual suspects — Bossow and Kylie Martin — as well as a 3 from Ashlee Dubeau. Eagle Valley finished the first half with a 12-0 run, including more 3s from Bossow and Martin.
Speaking of Bossow, she had a huge game with 22 points. That’s going to be a big factor down the stretch as Slope teams see each other again and adjust. Games like Bossow had make it harder for teams to focus on Martin, who had 18 on Tuesday.
Both sets of Devils start the second half of league play on Thursday at Glenwood Springs. The ladies are a game behind both Palisade and Rifle, while the boys are one up in the loss column over Rifle and Glenwood.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, email@example.com and @cfreud.