Devils down Huskies to close out gym in Gypsum
Vail, CO Colorado
GYPSUM ” Eagle Valley sent more than just its seniors out in style on Tuesday night.
The Devils also said goodbye to an old, trusted friend. The last home game of the season marked the end of basketball in the Eagle Valley gym. The glass backboards and nylon nets couldn’t have picked a better ending.
A big second-half spurt pushed the Devils to a 62-52 victory over rival Battle Mountain in Gypsum.
“It feels good,” Cesar Castillo said. “It’s an important game. The student body did a great job of helping us out. They pumped us up.”
Eagle Valley will move next door to its brand new digs next season, but for one more night, the old gym came alive. A packed house did everything in its power to will the Devils (4-18, 2-11) to a victory.
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It worked thanks to a 23-4 run that stretched between the third and fourth quarters.
“(Battle Mountain) played like they were in someone else’s gym a little bit,” Eagle Valley coach Pat Gabriel said. “Our guys stepped up to the plate. It was really, really good.”
It looked like the Huskies (3-17, 3-9) would hand Eagle Valley a loss early in the third period. Battle Mountain’s Robert Weiss scored inside to cap a 10-0 run and give the Huskies a 32-29 edge. It didn’t take long for the Devils to answer.
Willie Magdziuk and Trevor Grayson splashed back-to-back 3-pointers to give Eagle Valley the lead at 35-34. Grayson hit another trey to push the advantage to 40-36. The victory was sweet for the senior because it was the first time he’s beaten the Huskies in either soccer or basketball, he said.
“We knew we could do it,” Grayson said. “We kept fighting and fighting. We knew it was going to be a dog-fight the whole game. We did all we could.”
The Devils continued to push the tempo in the fourth. Cesar Castillo did his best John Elway impression with a bullet pass the length of the court to Chris Brubeck for an easy layup.
Battle Mountain’s Mitch Cooley was whistled for a technical on the play when he slapped the backboard trying to block the shot, turning it into a four-point possession and 49-38 Eagle Valley lead.
Castillo clinched the win when he stole the ball and sprinted down court for another two points. The senior finished the game with 20 points, most of them coming from being aggressive toward the hoop.
“I just played,” Castillo said. “Whatever they gave me, I took.”
Cooley and Miguel Copas did their best to keep the Huskies in the game, but it wasn’t enough. Cooley paced Battle Mountain with a game-high 23 points. Copas added 14 more off the bench.
In the first half, Castillo dazzled the home crowd for one last time. He gave Eagle Valley the lead, 15-13, early in the second quarter with a 3-pointer. Another trey made it 25-16 in the Devils’ favor. He closed the half with a nifty up and under move across the lane to send the game into the break 29-22.
Eagle Valley is at Moffat County on Friday. Battle Mountain is home against Steamboat Springs.
Bair leads Eagle Valley to win over Battle Mountain
The Eagle Valley and Battle Mountain girls’ basketball game won’t claim any Oscars for artistic beauty.
That doesn’t mean the Devils’ Kacey Bair shouldn’t win an award for her starring performance in Tuesday’s contest. Playing in her final home game, the senior scored 20 points and snatched 10 rebounds to lead Eagle Valley to a 60-46 victory over the Huskies in Gypsum.
The win improves the Devils’ (9-13 record) record to 6-7 in the 4A Slope to keep their playoff hopes alive.
“Any win is good,” Bair said. “Over a rival is better. On senior night is even better.”
Bair almost single-handedly broke open a close game in the third quarter. Eagle Valley only held a 23-20 advantage after a rough and tumble first half. That’s when Bair took over.
Brenda Zapata fed Bair with a high-low pass for the first basket after the break. A minute later, Bair started a spree of three-straight hoops with a traditional 3-point play to give the Devils a 28-23 edge.
“She was good (in the third quarter),” Eagle Valley coach Ken Reagan said. “That’s what you want on Senior Night.”
When Bair converted an inbounds play into two more points, Eagle Valley led 38-25. In the third period alone, Bair scored 12 points.
“I was really on today,” Bair said. “During warm-ups, I was hitting my shots.”
Even after Bair’s heroics, the Devils had to work to survive a spirited Battle Mountain effort in the fourth quarter. First, Alexis Kyprianou drilled a 3-pointer for the Huskies. Next, Miriah Jones grabbed an offensive rebound and scored inside to cut the Eagle Valley advantage to 46-38.
The Devils cranked up their defense to seal the win. Eagle Valley’s full-court press forced a Battle Mountain turnover that quickly turned into a Mikaela Nevin trey. Yvette Parra’s jumper made it 55-40 to put the game out of reach.
The last time Eagle Valley and Battle Mountain met, the Devils raced out to a 17-2 first quarter lead. The script read differently on Tuesday. Adriana Morken beat the Eagle Valley press for a layup and a 5-3 advantage.
The Huskies held on for an 8-6 edge at the end of the first quarter, a big improvement from many games this season.
“I think it all started clicking at one point,” Battle Mountain coach Andrew Schmid said. “We were down 17-2 or something last time (against Eagle Valley). This time we had the lead. I think it was all about us coming ready to play.”
Morken kept the Huskies in the lead, 15-14, with a baseline jumper. She led all scorers with a game-high 24 points, including a 4-of-6 shooting performance from behind the arc.
“We’re actually starting to put up some points, and she is really helping us out,” Schmid said.
The back-and-forth action started to turn in the Devils’ favor because of the play of Zapata. Twice in the second quarter, she scored baskets to keep Eagle Valley ahead by three. Unfortunately, Zapata went down with a serious left knee injury in the third period. Reagan said the junior is likely to miss the rest of the season.
Eagle Valley finishes its season on Friday at Moffat County. Battle Mountain (0-22, 0-13) hosts Steamboat Springs on Senior Night.
Sports Writer Ian Smith can be reached at email@example.com or at 748-2935.