Eagle Valley returns experience, speed
Vail, CO Colorado
GYPSUM, Colorado ” A young Eagle Valley girls basketball team is just about all grown up. The Devils hope that equals more wins in 2008-09.
Eagle Valley went through some growing pains last year with a roster loaded with underclassmen, finishing with a record of 4-17. Now, the Devils are a year older, and they hope a year better on the court.
Eagle Valley returns four seniors, and a host of speedsters from last season’s squad. A couple of talented transfer students should also help bolster the Devils’ roster.
“(The experience) helps with knowing the offense and makes it a lot easier,” senior Stephanie Renzelman said. “When we go to practice, we know what we are doing.”
No one will confuse a Devils’ practice for a track meet, but head coach Ken Reagan is running his players plenty to get ready for the season. That’s because Eagle Valley plans on wearing opponents down with a pressure defense and a fast-break offense. The Devils started practice on Nov. 12 and are already making strides on both ends of the court.
Eagle Valley won’t tower over its opponents this season. Instead, the Devils planning on running past other teams.
“The girls are very athletic,” Reagan said. “I think that’s our No. 1 asset. Secondly, with the girls we have, we have some experience. I’ve got girls that have played varsity since they were freshman. They’ve matured a little bit. That helps us compared to last year, just having more experience.”
Reagan is implementing a new offense to take advantage of the team’s speed. Last year, the Devils ran a high-low set in hopes of getting the ball to leading-scorer Jeanette Baker. With Baker now gone due to graduation, Eagle Valley will look to other players to step into the scoring role.
“We need to find somebody to score for us,” Reagan said. “Hopefully, we can find four or five girls that can score in double-digits off the break.”
Eagle Valley will rely on its bench to keep everyone fresh during games. Luckily, that shouldn’t be a problem. As many as nine players are vying for playing time.
The competition for starting spots isn’t getting in the way of the Devils’ close relationships.
“We are really close already,” senior Sierra Pickslay-Zamora said. “We have really good teamwork. It’s not that we competing against each other. We are just pushing each other. It’s helping us a lot. It’s helping us gel as a team.”
Kacey Bair, Jamie Bair and Kayla Gagnon are slotted to see time at the forward and center positions. Emily Kingston, Mikaela Nevin, Yvette Parra, Pickslay-Zamora, Renzelman, Hillary Schott and Brenda Zapata are all versatile enough to play point guard or slide over to the wing. Schott is a transfer from Grand Junction, while Zapata hails from Arizona.
Eagle Valley is anxious to see how all the individual parts function on the court.
“Personally, I’m super-excited,” senior Kacey Bair said. “I hope everyone else is as excited as I am.”
The Devils tip off the season on Dec. 2 at Coal Ridge. The first home game of the season is Dec. 9 against Summit.
Sports Writer Ian Smith can be reached at 970-748-2935 or email@example.com.