Devils shot by Rifle |

Devils shot by Rifle

Shauna Farnell
Shane Macomber/Vail Daily Eagle Valley's John Gabriel findes himself trapped and dishes the ball off to teammate Cody Gerard during Saturday's game against Rifle who took home the win 62-44.

GYPSUM – Friday’s win against Glenwood Springs proved a tough act to follow for Eagle Valley boys basketball. The Devils went down, 62-44, to Rifle Saturday in a game that clearly didn’t carry the same spark as the previous night’s matchup.”I think that they didn’t have to play (Friday) night hurt us,” said Eagle Valley coach Pat Gabriel. “We had a rough game (Friday); we had a serious outing. Rifle would have had a rough game if they played. We’ve got spongy legs, and they’ve got lava legs. Our energy level wasn’t where it needed to be to play with them. I thought we moved too slowly.”Rifle was slated to play Battle Mountain Friday, but Battle Mountain had to forfeit due to an excess of games for the season.

“It didn’t hurt us that we didn’t have to play (Friday),” said Rifle coach Chris Lowther. “Eagle Valley played such a great game (Friday) night, maybe they felt a little drained. They can do great things. We had a little more energy tonight.”While Rifle came out on the court sinking its first five shots, it took the Devils almost three full minutes before Cody Gerard finally put one in the net. John Gabriel followed suit with a field goal, but Rifle matched it with a pair of 3-pointers. Kevin Cruz, who had a knack for hitting the net with his back to the hoop Saturday, put 2 more on the board for his team, but the first quarter ended with Rifle ahead 15-7. Firing the ball downcourt with no delay, Rifle kicked off the second quarter with a 3-pointer that Eagle Valley’s David Hernandez returned with a layup through four opponents. Rifle increased its lead 34-17 to end the half. Despite scoring the first points of the second half on a 3-pointer by Gerard, and outscoring Rifle 13-9 in the third quarter, Rifle turned up its defense and its shots once again in the fourth. Cruz and Andy Johnson each had valiant steals resulting in field goals. Cruz, along with fellow high-scorer John Gabriel (each had 8 points) hit almost all of their free throws, but Rifle was given the opportunity for even more points at the line and sank just about all of them.”They were like 5-for-6 at the free throw line at halftime,” Gerard said. “They played Glenwood Tuesday and didn’t hit a single shot. But they came out tonight and hit everything. They played really good defense. They shut down our offense for a while.”

“The ball was falling well for them,” agreed Johnson. “They’re good shooters. We just let them have too many good looks.”As to following Friday night’s 69-47 victory against Glenwood, the Devils said the wear and tear of the effort is no excuse for not playing better on Saturday.”I wouldn’t make that an excuse,” John Gabriel said. “We obviously didn’t bring our best game. We should be able to play two games in a row.”Eagle Valley takes on Moffat County at 8 p.m. Friday on the road.

Sports Writer Shauna Farnell can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 610, or, Colorado

Support Local Journalism