Eagle Valley cagers run out of gas
GYPSUM – A big lead and heavy momentum are great in the first quarter, but they can’t carry a team for an entire game.The Eagle Valley boys basketball team came out full steam against Montrose, amassing a 12-1 lead, but the Devils couldn’t maintain the intensity, and fell to the Indians, 58-48.”They out-conditioned us in a way,” said Eagle Valley coach Pat Gabriel. “Our kids are fit, but we got up early and lost the mental edge. We are young. I think when we had our lead, we were surprised and didn’t know that we had to keep doing it. It’s not easy because competitive teams will claw their way back into it.”Eagle Valley dominated Montrose most of the first quarter, holding the Indians scoreless for the first six minutes. But by the end of the quarter, Montrose had cut the lead to 14-9.”A slow start has been our Achilles’ heel all season,” said Montrose coach Bob Connor. “I put our second team in there, and they are the ones that got us going. I tip my hat to those guys.”At halftime, it was the Devils who needed a 3-pointer from Carlos Martinez to tie the game at 28-28.Montrose grabbed an early second half lead, and didn’t trail for the rest of the game.The Devils battled back to cut Montrose’s lead to 38-35, and then 47-41, but they couldn’t stop a spread-out Montrose attack, or perform from the foul line.”I think we got a little tired, and that gave them the edge,” said John Gabriel, who scored a team-high 19 points for the Devils. “Free throws killed us, too. We were 4-for-12 in the fourth quarter. We made those, it’s different.”For the game, the Devils were 9-for-19 from the line, and also had some trouble sinking shots from the field.”There’s some technical things we have to do better,” Pat Gabriel said. “We have to set up better when we shoot so we can score. We have to share the basketball earlier in our attack, and defensively, we need to help each other better and rotate.”
Montrose’s offense, led by Tyler Rawlings’ 21 points, scored from all over the court, but got many basket on cuts down the middle.”We have a couple of offenses we run, and one was to spread it out in the middle, which worked,” Connor said.Points, boardsThe first few minutes of the game was the John Gabriel show. Gabriel scored 12 of the team’s first 14 points, while grabbing a pair of boards and a steal.In the second quarter, Gabriel picked up his third foul, then early in the third quarter Gabriel grabbed his fourth and went to the bench.”When Gabriel got in foul trouble, that was key for us,” Connor said. “But Martinez is a heck of a shooter, and he started to light us up, which scared us.”Martinez dropped two shots from behind the arc to bring the Devils to within one, and then three.”I needed some scoring output when John was the bench,” Pat Gabriel said. “Carlos helped us, and Matt Barker knocked in a few, but we didn’t get a lot otherwise.”In John Gabriel’s absence, and even in his presence, David McMichael did a great job of bringing down boards on both side of the court. In one sequence in the first half, McMichael grabbed three offensive rebounds in less than a minute.”David rebounded well tonight,” Pat Gabriel said. “He’s dedicating himself to the offensive glass, and that’s going to help us.”
Even with good rebounding, the Devils weren’t able to contain the Indians’ offense.”They are a tough team and really aggressive underneath,” Martinez said. “We weren’t used to their type of offense.”Friday, the Devils will play at the Montrose Tournament before taking a break for the holidays. Eagle Valley girls can’t overcome slow startGetting out of a deep hole is not easy. This is the lesson the Eagle Valley girls basketball team learned Tuesday night against Montrose in a 61-33 loss.Montrose stormed out to a 14-2 lead in the first quarter, and retained a 12-point-lead at halftime, 26-14.”In the first half, we dug ourselves in a hole,” said Eagle Valley coach Jamie Mayne. “In the second half, we were looking better, but it wasn’t enough because we were too far down.” While the Devils had trouble shooting the ball from the field in the first half, going 3-for-17, the Indians went 7-for-16 from the field, and 7-for-8 from the field.”We shot pretty well and we have three starters out,” said Montrose coach John Mraule.
Eagle Valley shook off the first half woes and began to play better in the second half, but so did Montrose, and the Indians extended their lead to 42-26 after three quarters.”Our young kids came along,” Mraule said. “We made a lot of young mistakes, but I was happy when we ran the floor.”Leading the way for Montrose were Lauren Becker and Britney Creamer. Becker scored 12 points in the second half, while Creamer used her size to score down low all game.”Becker is a good 3-point shooter, and Creamer works inside out well,” Mraule said.For the Devils, Amanda Padilla had a team-high 17 points. After grabbing four points in the first half, Padilla scored seven points from the field and six points from the free throw line. Padilla went to the line five times in the second half.”I knew my shot wasn’t there, so every time I was driving the ball in, Coach Mayne told me to just drive it and they would foul me,” Padilla said.Rachel Sandoval netted eight points for the Devils, while Sarah Reed added five.”We need to work on scoring,” Mayne said. “We had the shots, but they weren’t falling. We need to get our post players more visible and rebound a little better to get some put-backs.”Two thumbs upEagle Valley played tight defense all game, and drew almost 10 possession arrow changes. Padilla had a few steals and caused four jump balls, while freshman Kacey Bair came in and stirred up the Indians’ offense as well. Sandoval used her speed to agitate the Montrose defense all game.
“Amanda is a good hustler, and so is Rachel. They get scrappy balls,” Mayne said. “We were aggressive and never gave up.”From the second quarter on, Eagle Valley used a press on Montrose.”Coach Mayne always makes sure we are aggressive and go for everything,” Padilla said.The smaller Devils had the edge on the boards. Sandoval led the Devils with 11 rebounds, followed by Mary Cochrane and Bair who each had four.”Our rebounding wasn’t bad, but we need to work on our technique a little more,” Mayne said.In their first home game of the year, the Devils looked a bit tentative.”We weren’t looking for our shots when we drove to the basket,” Padilla said.After a long break, the Devils will host Glenwood Springs on Jan. 7 at 4 p.m. at Eagle Middle School.Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14631, or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail, Colorado