Devils surge past Bulldogs in stretch
GYPSUM – With a 20-point lead early in the third quarter, the Eagle Valley boys’ basketball team looked to have things under control against Moffat County Saturday night.Less than a quarter later, however, the Bulldogs battled back to within four points, and two Eagle Valley starters fouled out of the game. But the Devils pulled away down the stretch, thanks to solid play all over the court by Jason Bair, and picked up their third league win, 73-57.”He was on the boards hitting free throws and blocking shots,” said Eagle Valley coach Pat Gabriel of Bair. “Our guys brought what they had to bring and earned a good win.”Matt Barker drained 26 points for Eagle Valley, including a few shots from beyond the arc.”He played extremely efficiently and did smart things,” Gabriel said.After falling behind, 48-28, the Bulldogs slowly chipped away at the Devils’ lead, with guard Mike Peters carrying the large load of scoring. Peters had a team-high 13 points, while teammate Andrew Magas added 12.”The kids battled,” said Moffat County coach Scott Parker.Early in the game, and in its final minutes, the shots fell for Eagle Valley, while those that didn’t for Moffat ended up in the hands of Devils’ defenders.”We didn’t execute real well offensively,” Parker said. “That culminating with a cold shooting night put us in a bad hole. We cut their lead to four, but Eagle Valley did a nice job of putting a stop to that and taking control of the game.”
With Eagle Valley’s Mike Medsker and Mike Smith done for the game, Bair came up huge down low. “I was just boxing out and doing my best to get the rebounds,” Bair said.Not only did the big man take care of business on defense, but went 4-for-4 from the line to preserve a Devils’ lead. Roberto Pantoja came off the bench and moved the ball well for Eagle Valley in the later stages of the game.Bear Barkman had 17 for the Devils, who improved to 4-9 overall and 3-4 in the 4A Western Slope.”Our kids are starting to take ownership in what they want to accomplish,” Gabriel said.Moffat, which beat Battle Mountain Friday, dropped to 2-4 in league play.Bulldogs keep on rollingSaturday, the Eagle Valley girls learned what the rest of the Western Slope has found out this season – there aren’t too many holes in the Moffat County basketball team.
The No. 2 Bulldogs played solid ball and cruised to a 69-30 win, improving to 14-1 overall.”We were pretty consistent tonight,” said Moffat coach Craig Montgomery. “Cayla (Maneotis) had a big night. I was really happy for her, and the rest of the girls played well.”The 6-foot-5 Maneotis had a game-high 23 points, and the Bulldogs had two other in double digits, with Markie Workman dropping 14 and Angela Charchalis adding 11.Eagle Valley handled a tight man-to-man Moffat defense in the first half, and trailed 37-17 at heading into the break.”We only had nine turnovers in the first half, and we took care of the ball,” said Eagle Valley coach Ken Reagan. “But they are a tough team to guard because they run the full court.”Moffat clamped down on the Devils’ in the second half, limiting their shots and picking up the defensive rebounds.”We stressed playing defense without fouls,” Montgomery said. “They only had three points in the third quarter, and we extended that in the fourth.”Even when the Devils looked to beat a Bulldogs’ defender, another was right there.”We would pick an roll, but they played good recovery defense,” Reagan said.
In addition to the tight Bulldogs’ defense, the shots weren’t falling for Eagle Valley.”We made some bad decisions on shot selection,” Reagan said. “We just couldn’t get those extra offensive rebounds because (Moffat) crashed the boards like crazy.”The Devils’ Jeanette Baker led the team with 16 points, and was 4-for-4 from the line, despite an injured hip flexor. Mary Cochrane had five points and seven rebounds, while Kacey Bair also had five points.Midway through league play, the Bulldogs remain undefeated.”We try and be consistent, and have what we practice come out in games,” Montgomery said.Eagle Valley hopes to move into the second half with more consistent play.”So far we’ve done good in games, but we’re looking to put two halves together and two (consecutive) games together,” Reagan said.Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or email@example.com.
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