Devils hoops takes a pair from Vail Christian
GYPSUM — Early County bragging rights to Eagle Valley.
In the first varsity meetings between the two schools, the Devils took care of the Saints — please, no theological interpretations — on Tuesday night in Gypsum. Eagle Valley’s girls won, 42-28, followed by its boys topping the Saints, 92-46.
Devils girls’ takeaway
Under the category of “No kidding, Sherlock,” Kylie Martin looks poised for a big year. Not surprisingly, the senior led the Devils (3-1) with 22 points.
In a game in which both teams struggled for offense — not surprising, given the season isn’t a week old — no. 10 showed that she still has her outside jumper and can deal in the paint. Her 3-point play was part of a 10-2 run to start the second half, putting this one away.
The interesting thing is that Eagle Valley is a bit bigger this year with Martin not being the only post. The Devils have added Ashley Amavisca, a senior from Mexico, and also have junior Brennecke Gale on the varsity roster.
Regan Bossow and Cassie Jaramillo got in a little foul trouble, which is not a huge worry, as one night does not make a trend, distorting the offensive balance that all in Gypsum would like to see.
Both Eagle Valley teams are off to the Steamboat Shootout. The Devils face Pueblo Centennial on Thursday. Centennial is not to be confused with Pueblo Central, whom Eagle Valley faced last weekend.
“The main thing we know is that it’s not a pretty 3-1,” Devils coach Sam Bartlett said. “We’re playing too spasmodically. We can do a lot better job taking care of the ball. We’ve been beaten on the offensive glass every game this year. That’s a positive, given that we’re 3-1. We have room for improvement.”
Saints girls’ takeaway
Offensive flow continues to elude the Saints (1-2). In fairness, Vail Christian, a 2A school, has played two 4A squads — Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley — in its first three contests.
“We’re just not executing our offense,” Saints coach Beth Raitt said. “We just don’t have that chemistry yet. We’re not reading each other yet.”
Turnovers are issue no. 1.
In a promising sign, Vail Christian rallied in the fourth quarter behind good defense and two free throws from Barbara O’Brien and four from Sarah Heredia. That got the Saints to within 31-24 with five minutes left in the game.
Getting other contributions from players not named Jesse Raitt (nine points), Marti Schmidt (seven points) and Kass Baker bodes well.
Devils boys’ takeaway
Tuesday was the first chance for Eagle Valley fans to see their team unleash 32 minutes of fury, and the faithful enjoyed it.
The Devils trapped and created turnovers on their way to building a commanding 48-20 halftime lead. Eagle Valley is deep, rolling a 5-for-5 substitution package.
The highlight of numerous fastbreaks was a little tic-tac-toe from Arturo Loera to Carlos Quezada to Jesus Loera during a 21-9 first quarter.
Eagle Valley (4-0) also appears to have plenty of pop from beyond the arc, which should prove critical when it comes to league play when opponents will try to force the Devils into a methodical half-court offense.
“One of the things we wanted to do was get more shot attempts,” Devils coach Chris Walls said. “From last year, we saw we had a good percentage of making shots. We just needed more. If someone tries to slow it down, I think we’re well-rounded with size, speed and good shooters, but the goal is to try to trap, press and get more possessions.”
Jimmy Murphy led the Devils with 17 points, while Jesus Loera had 16 and Arturo Loera added 10.
Tuesday ended the first phase of the regular season for Eagle Valley, whose schedule has been light so far, completely understandable for a team which went 6-14 last year.
Eagle Valley opens the tourney at Steamboat on Thursday with Montrose.
Saints boys’ takeaway
The Saints have likely played the best two teams they’ll see this season. Which one is better — Eagle Valley or Battle Mountain — will be decided in much-anticipated 4A Slope games later this season. (Huskies coach Philip Tronsrue was conspicuous by his presence on Tuesday night.)
As is the case with the Vail Christian girls, most of the nonconference slate is against 4A and 3A squads, which stings now, but should produce dividends come 2A Slope play.
“They came at us in waves,” Saints coach Sheldon Kuhns said. “(Eagle Valley is) really deep and talented. We started well, and they did a good job of turning the game chaotic. But I’m proud of our guys. They fought for 32 minutes and executed the game plan better in the second half.”
While the Devils did take off the full-court press in the second half, Vail Christian (0-3) did a better job of slowing down the pace of the game during the final 16 minutes. One way to slow things down is to take a charge, which is what both Mac Schmidt and Joseph Emmer did.
Bryan Trujillo led the Saints with 15 points, while Sebastian Moritz added 13.
Vail Christian’s girls are at West Grand on Friday, while the gents are at Basalt on Saturday.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.