Drumm, Huskies cagers slam Delta
EAGLE-VAIL – Before each game, Battle Mountain boys basketball coach Philip Tronsrue has a bag of M&Ms – with peanuts – and a Pepsi.”That started last season,” Tronsrue said. “It didn’t do much good, but we’re on a roll this year – M&M peanuts and a Pepsi during the first half of the girls’ game.”Who’s to argue? Tronsrue’s team took out Delta Friday night, 73-58, for its fifth straight win as the Huskies moved to 13-5 overall and 6-3 in the 4A Slope.Pepsi and M&Ms aside, it also doesn’t hurt to have Connor Drumm. The Battle Mountain junior had a sensational night with a career-high 32 points, 25 of which came in the first half.Not bad for a guy who’s banged up.”My body hasn’t been feeling that great. I hurt my knee and my calf, but I’m not going to complain about that,” Drumm said. “I just came focused, I guess. Some nights you’re on. Some nights, you’re off. I was on tonight.””Holy cow,” Tronsrue said. “Last week against Delta, he had 20 at halftime. Tonight, he had 25 at halftime. He had the exact same first half. He was just unstoppable.”Battle Mountain was pretty much unstoppable in the first half. The Huskies rolled out to an 11-0 lead. When Drumm and Derek Rush popped in consecutive 3s, Battle Mountain was leading 35-15 on its way to a 46-28 halftime lead.
The highlight of evening came with 2:06 left in the first quarter when Drumm got a fast break and a slam dunk, bringing the near capacity crowd to its feet.”Everyday at school, I always get grief about not (dunking) or something,” Drumm said. “I’ve only had two. It’s only two points, but it’s a highlight.”Battle Mountain hasn’t had too many big halftime leads recently, and they played like a team with little experience in this sort of situation in the third. The Huskies fouled, got sloppy on defense and started coughing up the ball with regularity. Delta, at one point, closed the lead to just 10 points at 52-42 with 3:04 left in the third.”You see the Dukes and other good teams and they’re up against lower-ranked teams and they know how to play that way,” Tronsrue, who doesn’t have a favorite M&M color, said. “Every game we play we’re really stepping in fresh snow. We’re not used to having big leads. We’re getting used to close games. We’re breaking new paths.”Enter Thomas Pacheco. The Battle Mountain guard stopped the bleeding with a layup that started a 10-2 run to close the period. Pacheco, who hadn’t scored until this point, had nine big points down the stretch to right the ship.”The kid never quits,” Tronsrue said. “He just keeps working hard. He’s solid all the time. He’s just putting good defensive pressure on. He’s hustling after the ball. He’s making good plays.”The Huskies will try to make it six straight when they host Palisade tonight at 7:30.And, Coach, don’t forget the Pepsi and the M&Ms.
Balance keys Lady Huskies winMuch, much better.After a dispiriting loss to Eagle Valley Tuesday, the Battle Mountain girls basketball team looked much more like themselves Friday with a 49-33 pasting of Delta.”The bounce back is huge,” Huskies coach David Hite said. “We set the goal that we wanted to win the next five games. We lost one in Eagle. I thought they came back out tonight. They refocused. They did a really good job of picking it up. Every win’s important for us.”That’s because at 7-10 overall and 4-5 in the 4A Slope, once thought an unfathomable dream, the Huskies are just one spot out of the state playoffs as the slate winds down in February.There were two big keys for the Huskies’ big win. First, the normally slow-starting Huskies had to get out of the gate quickly. In two games against Eagle Valley, the Huskies trailed, 14-4, and, 16-6, after the first eight minutes. That was ultimate the margin of victory for the Devils.The Huskies did the job against Delta, to the tune of an 11-1 first quarter.
Then, there was balance. Lauren Prewitt led the paint players with 12 points and eight rebounds. Her counterpart outside was guard Alexis Guinn. No. 15 scored her number.”We just played as a team all together,” Guinn said. “We played really good defense. We helped each other out. We executed on offense. It was just a good team game.””We talked about it at the beginning of the year,” Hite said. “We have to be a balanced team. We have all the right weapons – the guards, the post players and the bench. If everybody comes and does their job every night, there’s no team that we can’t beat in the state.”Kaeli Hosler put up seven points and six boards. Meagan Reigel had six points and took five off the glass. Emily LyBarger and Katie Hite had five and four points, respectively.The Huskies host Palisade tonight at 6.Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 614, or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail, Colorado