Devils down Huskies, keep state hopes alive
GYPSUM – It was going to be a Delta doubleheader for Eagle Valley basketball at the district tournament Thursday.
And then they played the games.
Eagle Valley girls basketball earned a date with Delta at 3 p.m. at Colorado Mesa University by virtue of their 48-28 win Tuesday in Gypsum over a very game Battle Mountain squad. The boys, who thought they would get the Panthers as well, will actually face Glenwood Springs at 7:30 p.m. at Central High School in Grand Junction. (The Demons knocked off the Panthers in OT Tuesday.)
“We actually have three more chances to accomplish our goal,” Devils coach Sam Bartlett said. “At the beginning of the season, our goal was to finish above .500 and make it to the state playoffs. That’s still reachable.”
The Huskies actually led, 6-5, with 4:05 to go in the first quarter before Eagle Valley (12-8) took control. Taylor Martin gave the Devils the lead for good. Madeline Lounsberry had the next four points with a pair of free throws and a jumper. Mariel Gutierrez converted her own steal into a breakaway layup, and then Megan Asmussen capped the period with a jump shot and a 3-pointer with four seconds left in the period for an 18-7 lead after eight minutes.
Giving credit where it is due, the Huskies, who finish the year at 2-18, played one of their better games of the season, despite suiting up only seven players for Tuesday’s game.
“It was the best game we’ve played all year,” Huskies coach Vinny Cisneros said. “We had seven players tonight. We battled through injuries. … We played with the girls who stuck it out all season … We walked into this game with nothing but confidence, and we gave them everything we had. You could ask them.”
And Bartlett agreed.
“They were tremendously better than the last time we played them,” he said. “(Taylor) Davidson did some nice things. (Elizabeth) Olivas, she really helped out their offense. They were better on defense. They really played hard and they finished their season off on a good note.”
Davidson led the Huskies with 15 points, while Lounsberry finished with 14.
When the Devils head to Grand Junction, it’s important to remember this is not the district tournament of old. This is not single-elimination. The top-seven teams out of the eight-team field will draw berths to state. Eagle Valley will play three games, regardless of the result of Thursday’s tilt with Delta. The first goal is to win one game to get to state.
That said, the Devils don’t want to wait until Saturday’s third game to clinch a state spot. The focus is on Delta alone.
“”It was great. We could have played a little harder,” Lounsberry said. “But a win’s a win and we’re excited to play Delta on Thursday, and we’re going to give them all we’ve got on Thursday.”