Devils take a pair from Battle Mountain
“In a streaky game, a lot of it comes down to hitting free throws,” Devils head coach Phil Cain said. “We were able to make some at the end. Overall, I told the team, every team is going to make their runs. We played more as a team tonight as we have all season, and that’s a big confidence booster.”
Tied 24-24 coming out of halftime, Devils senior Craig Jagger scored eight-straight points as a part of a 20-4 third-quarter run that lasted more than seven minutes, capped by senior Justin Wood’s 3-pointer to run the score to 44-28. But when Battle Mountain guard Julio Hermosillo knocked down a three, and the Huskies’ Blake Gammon swished a half-court shot at the buzzer, it was apparent the Devils’ lead was far from comfortable.
It became even more obvious that Battle Mountain was not just trying to make the score close. By the time Battle Mountain junior Chris Romero hit a 3-pointer and senior Eddie Irgens scored five-straight, the Huskies had completed a 14-0 run of their own to bring the score to 44-40.
“In a way, the third quarter hurt us a lot,” Huskies head coach Phil Tronsrue said. “We got down big, cut it down to 10 by the end of the third quarter, and got it down to two. Our kids haven’t been in that situation a whole lot, and that’s what it’s all about.”
Eagle Valley, however, would regain its composure when Wood found an open lane and scored a bucket to break the drought with four minutes to go. The next minute would prove to be the best basketball all night, as Eagle Valley hit three free throws, a Cody Gerard turnaround, but was answered by an Irgens jumper and a Beau Buckley three-point play. With three minutes remaining, the score stood at 51-47, and the two-sided crowd began blending cheers into “Battle Valley” and “Eagle Mountain.”
That’s when Eagle Valley’s Sam Bartlett got active. The junior would score on an easy layin and grab the rebound after a Huskies miss, marking the point where Eagle Valley began to stall and Battle Mountain was forced to start fouling.
Wood would make a free throw, but Irgens would answer with a jumper to cut the lead back to five. Jagger made a free throw and then, on the next time-consuming possession, found Bartlett wide open underneath the basket. With one minute to go, the Devils’ lead had grown to eight.
The Huskies weren’t ready to go away, yet. Gammon would hit one more three-pointer to cut the lead back to five, but the Devils would go 4-for-6 from the charity stripe the rest of the way to seal the win, breaking the Devils’ five-game losing streak.
“We haven’t been playing together lately,” said Bartlett, who finished with 19 points and eight rebounds. “There’s no better team to get it together against that Battle Mountain. Hopefully, we can turn around our season. This game was like night and day to how we’ve been playing.”
Jagger finished with 16 points, five rebounds and five steals for the Devils, who also benefitted from 14 points and five boards from Wood.
Buckley led the way for the home team with 15 points and eight rebounds, as Irgens tacked on 14 points and Romero finished with 13.
Eagle Valley (3-8 overall) heads to Gunnison Friday for more 3A Western Slope League action and a 7:30 p.m. start. The Huskies (2-8 overall), meanwhile, will be traveling to Palisade for 4A Western Slope League game starting at 7:30 p.m. as well.
NOTES: Battle Mountain went 8-for-18 from behind the arc, while Eagle Valley went 18-for-36 from the free-throw line … Eagle Valley faces Cedaredge Saturday night at home, while the Huskies host Delta.
Quick start lifts Devils girls
EAGLE-VAIL –Eagle Valley girls basketball would hit their first four shots and jump out to a 19-9 lead after the first quarter Tuesday night, going on to beat cross-county rival Battle Mountain 56-41 in nonconference action.
The Devils, using six-straight points by senior Brooke Baughfman, never trailed in the game and led by as much as 20. Battle Mountain would make a run late in the game to cut the lead to nine, but the early Devils advantage proved too much for the home team.
“That first quarter hurt us,” Huskies coach David Hite said. “We needed to be ready for their intensity I knew they’d come out with. I was happy with our effort, though. We played three-and-a-half quarters right with them.”
Early in the second quarter, the Devils looked to be pouncing. After Battle Mountain started with a basket, Eagle Valley rallied off nine-straight points during a four-minute stretch and led by 16. Huskies senior Erin Drumm completed a three-point play, and when Huskies guard Sara LyBarger stole the ball and scored, the lead was cut to 11.
In the second half, however, Eagle Valley would use a big rebounding effort from Baughfman and timely baskets by freshman Amanda Padilla and Kenzie Shreeve to keep the rallying Huskies at bay.
“We’re happy with the effort,” Devils head coach Mike Vidakovich said. “I think that Brooke Baughfman, again, provided so much inspiration and energy. I’m trying to get everyone to play the same way.”
Baughfman would score four points midway through the final quarter to seal the win and put the Devils ahead by 20. The senior finished with 13 points and 14 rebounds, while junior Trista Sandoval added 11 points and Shreeve contributed eight.
Drumm led the Huskies 16 points and five rebounds.
Eagle Valley faces Gunnison on the road Friday in more 3A Western Slope League play, while the Huskies travel to Palisade. Both games are scheduled to start at 6 p.m.
Ryan Slabaugh is a sports writer for the Vail Daily. Contact him at (970) 949-0555 ext. 608 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.