Devils take a bite out of Bulldogs
The Eagle Valley girls basketball team resembled a group of surgeons as it picked apart Hotchkiss for a 55-31 victory.
The win boosted the Devils’ overall record to 9-7, and their league record to 6-5, securing a spot in fourth place in the 3A Slope.
“I’ve seen quite an improvement in our team,” said Eagle Valley girls basketball coach Mike Vidakovich. “About a month ago, we went to Hotchkiss and lost, 49-40.”
Hotchkiss struck first, but Devils guard Alex Amsden answered with a 3-pointer and the Devils methodically began to pull ahead. Eagle Valley forced a Hotchkiss timeout early on when Rachel Sandoval stole a Bulldogs’ pass and took it the length of the floor for a layup, giving the Devils a 13-5 lead.
Hotchkiss began to pick up its offensive pace, but Sandoval silenced the Bulldogs’ rumblings with a 3.
Devils guard Sarah Reed was fouled in the final second of the first quarter. She sunk both free throws, and put the Devils up, 21-9.
“The key to the game was the first quarter,” said Vidakovich. “We put up 21 points to their nine, and Kenzie Shreeve had four blocked shots.”
Shreeve and Trista Sandoval led Devils scoring with 11 points each. Shreeve also had six rebounds, and Trista Sandoval had three.
“In the first half, Kenzie really established a presence under the basket. In the first quarter especially, she either blocked or changed so many shots that Hotchkiss had to think twice before taking the ball inside,” said Vidakovich. “She’s kind of like our Dikembe Motumbo.”
The Devils led by as many as 14 points in the first half, and took a 32-19 lead into the half.
During the second half, the Devils held their lead at around 14 points until Vidakovich called a timeout and told his players: “I want good shots. We don’t have to force anything.”
The Devils came out of the huddle and proceeded to take wiser shots. The strategy led to a 24-point win.
The Lady Devils head to Basalt Tuesday for a game at 6:30 p.m.
Devils boys dominate
It looked like the Eagle Valley boys basketball team would breeze to another win against Hotchkiss Saturday night when the Devils jumped out to an early 10-4 lead highlighted by a flawless passing game.
But, the Bulldogs didn’t go down easy, making repeated comebacks and giving the Devils a run for their money before Eagle Valley finally pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 68-49 victory.
“They (Hotchkiss) were scrappy. I have to give them credit for really solid defense,” said Eagle Valley coach Phil Cain. “Our guys needed to take the ball to the hole a little stronger.”
Eagle Valley improved its overall record to 13-3, and notched another win onto their impressive league record to put the Devils at 10-1.
“We still played unselfishly, which is something we’ve been working on all year,” said Cain.
In the first quarter, after the Devils’ opening offensive burst, Bulldogs senior Michael Smith hit two consecutive 3-pointers to put Hotchkiss back in the game, and Eagle Valley took a 14-13 lead into the second quarter.
The Devils had a lot of open looks at the basket in the second quarter, but couldn’t connect on many of their opportunities. The two teams headed into the locker rooms after a low scoring second quarter with the Devils ahead, 26-22.
The Bulldogs came out of the halftime break with a vengeance and tied the game.
“We were too relaxed in the third quarter,” said Cain.
The Devils nursed a fluctuating, single-digit lead for most of the game, but pulled away in the last five minutes.
The Bulldogs’ multiple fouls early in the second half came back to haunt them toward the end, as they sent the Devils to the line for two free throws on every foul of the final two-and-a-half minutes.
Devils forward Cody Gerard led Eagle Valley scorers with 24 points. Jerad Schlegel put in 15 and Devils senior Dillon Barkman added 10.
Devils guard Sean Bartlett led the team with eight rebounds, and Gerard pulled down seven.
Bartlett and Schlegel had four assists apiece.
“Sean Bartlett did a good job with the way he passed the ball and rebounded for us,” said Cain.
The Devils head to Basalt Tuesday for a showdown at 8 p.m.
Andrew Harley can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext. 610, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.