Eagle Valley girls sneak past Summit County, 48-42
Vail, CO Colorado
GYPSUM, Colorado ” Four games into the season and the Eagle Valley girls basketball team still hasn’t decided on a starting lineup. It’s not for lack of production.
The Devils (2-2) got contributions from nine different players Tuesday night in a 48-42 win over Summit County in Gypsum. A pair of reserves ” at least against the Tigers ” should keep Eagle Valley coach Ken Reagan tinkering with his lineup for weeks.
“(Mikaela Nevin and Jamie Bair) came on huge,” Reagan said. “With this team, the reason I say it’s one of my favorites, is because I can play everybody. I played all nine regular varsity players. I’m comfortable with anyone in there. (Mikaela and Jamie) started over the weekend. We’ll keep switching our starters here to who ever is hot ” they were (tonight).”
The back-and-forth contest turned in Eagle Valley’s favor late in the fourth quarter. With the score knotted at 42 and only 1:42 remaining, Summit’s Alyssa Tallmadge went down with a leg injury. Both teams huddled while Tallmadge was attended to on the floor, but Eagle Valley took the court right as Tallmadge was gingerly walking off.
As soon as Tallmadge made it off the playing floor, the officials put the ball in play. Unfortunately for the Tigers, their players were still walking onto the court. The Devils inbounded the ball under the basket to Kacey Bair for a wide-open layup, and a 44-42 advantage.
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Eagle Valley carried the momentum from the controversial play the rest of the way, sinking four free throws down the stretch to ice the game.
“It feels great,” Nevin said. “We all worked as a team. We pushed the ball. It finally just started to click.”
Early in the second half, it appeared the Devils wouldn’t be within striking range at the end. Tallmadge ” who scored a game-high 21 points ” hit the third of four 3-pointers in the game to give the Tigers their biggest lead at 30-23.
Nevin helped Eagle Valley come back with a perfect lob pass to Brenda Zapata for an easy layup to cut the deficit to 34-30. On the next trip down the floor, Hilliary Schott grabbed an offensive rebound and made the putback to send the game into the fourth quarter 34-32 in Summit’s favor.
Bair, and her big sister, Kacey, provided big minutes for the Devils in the last period. Jamie tied the score at 36 with a layup. Both Kacey and Jamie finished the game with 10 points and eight rebounds.
“It’s so much fun (playing with Kacey),” Jamie said. “She supports me and I support her.”
Kacey Bair and Nevin both hit a pair of free throws to keep the scored tied at 40. Nevin tallied nine points off the bench.
The two teams traded buckets to set up the controversial layup that essentially gave Eagle Valley the victory.
“It’s tough when you feel like you had a game taken away from you, things out of your control,” Summit coach Dylan Hollingsworth said. “It felt like some things didn’t go our way there at the end, but I was very happy with the effort our girls put forth tonight.”
Summit nearly rode the hot hand of Tallmadge to the win, but turnovers plagued the Tigers all night. If not for the 26 giveaways in the game, Summit might have been able to put the Devils away in the first half.
“Alyssa is a fantastic player,” Hollingsworth said. “As she goes offensively, we go. We have to get some girls that can back her up and put the ball in the basket as well.”
Credit Eagle Valley for hitting their clutch free throws down the stretch. Earlier this season against Classical Academy, the Devils led the entire game until giving up a tying basket in the closing seconds to force overtime. Classical Academy went on to win the game 39-36.
Eagle Valley didn’t allow the same thing to happen Tuesday night. In the fourth quarter, the Devils cashed in on 7-of-10 free throw attempts.
“One thing we talked about this past weekend was learning how to win,” Reagan said. “(Summit) is a lot like the Classical Academy team we lost to on Friday. We talked about the things we needed to do to make things different than Friday. We learned a little bit how to win (tonight).”
Eagle Valley is back in action on Friday against Woodland Park at 3 p.m. at the Glenwood Springs Tournament. The Devils play again on Saturday morning at 9 a.m. against Faith Christian.
Sports Writer Ian Smith can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.