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Foul trouble stalls Eagle Valley attack

Ian CroppVail, CO Colorado
SPO EVHS Boys BB v Palisade TS 01-12-07
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GYPSUM, Colorado Palisades game plan was a page right out of the old SportsCenter adage, You cant stop him; you can only hope to contain him.With their sights set on Eagle Valley basketballs Scott House, the Bulldogs did all they could to stop the bleeding in Saturday nights game in Gypsum.But not before House showed why he commanded so much attention.At the end of the first quarter, Eagle Valley and Palisade were knotted at 12, with House picking up 10 of his teams points. Then, the Bulldogs plan came to fruition as House picked up his third foul early in the second quarter.By halftime, Palisade led, 33-22, and went on to win, 57-48.We went at Scott House. We definitely went at him, and it worked well for us, Palisade coach Keenon Clement said. But we couldnt get into a groove. Its a hard place to come and play. But, 57-48, Ill take it. Its better than the alternative.The Devils trailed by 15 at one point in the fourth quarter and cut Palisades lead to 7 with a few minutes to go, but the Bulldogs killed the clock by moving the ball around in their offensive end.There is a glimmer of fire there we can build on, Eagle Valley coach Pat Gabriel said. Palisade is not a bad team.Eagle Valley played a good game, but we were able to do some things down the stretch, Clement said.The Devils, meanwhile, were plagued by foul trouble all night. Midway through the third quarter, three Devils, including two starters, were on the bench with four fouls. Then, with 1:24 left in the third, another starter went to the bench with his fourth foul.Foul trouble hurt us, Gabriel said. When Scott was out of the game in the second quarter, I believe that was the turning point of the game. They didnt overwhelm us at the time; we just didnt score. When you are not scoring, you lose a little momentum.The Devils out-rebounded the Bulldogs by 9 in the first half, although Palisade went 3-for-4 from behind the arc.They had no offensive rebounds in the first half, which is really good, Gabriel said. Thats what keeps you in the game with Palisade. They are such good shooters. But we gave them five second attempts in the second half.Palisades Jose Quintana took advantage of some unobstructed shooting and went 13-for-14 from the foul line, where he tallied all of his team-high points.Thats the ballgame right there, Clement said.Eagle Valley was also effective from the line but didnt have as many chances. The Devils also had several field goals just miss the mark.Weve got to be better at shooting, and the kids know that, Gabriel said. We missed a lot of inside shots tonight, too.Despite playing about 20 minutes, House had a team-high 23 points and was 9-for-11 from the line, with both misses intentional attempts to get the ball back late in the game. Eagle Valleys Cesar Castillo, who can likely dribble in a phone booth while being double covered, added 13. Roberto Pantoja played solid all over the court, chipping in 9 points and tallying 7 boards, 5 of them offensive. House had 9 boards, with Chris Brubeck picking up 6.With the loss, Eagle Valley moved to 1-1 in the 4A Western Slope.

GYPSUM With plenty of rebounds and an opponents low shooting percentage as proof, the Eagle Valley girls basketball team played some solid defense Saturday night against Palisade.The only problem for the Devils was the Bulldogs defense was a bit more stifling.Palisade used a mid-game run to move ahead of Eagle Valley and went on to win, 54-39.Their defense is tough, Eagle Valley coach Ken Reagan said. They ran three defenses against us, so we had to be ready.The Bulldogs mixed man-to-man coverage, a 2-3 zone and a 1-3-1 zone.Weve been focusing on our defense, trying to create some offense through the defense, Palisade coach Jay Muller said. Ive been proud of our kids the last two weeks. Theyve made an effort to keep the defensive pressure up.Palisades two big post players, Bernadette Pitre and Holly ONeal, controlled the paint in the Bulldogs end and forced the Devils to shoot from outside.Bernadette and Holly got us kind of tired out working on the blocks, Reagan said. I think our post players stopped moving, and when that happened, we werent moving very well. Then came that fire alarm, and we came back and they came out a lot harder than we did.With 3:43 left in the second quarter, and Palisade leading 20-12, a fire alarm evacuated the gym for almost 15 minutes. Palisade closed out the half on a 13-1 run.The team is fine if it goes back and forth with its opponents like it was doing in the first quarter, Reagan said. We cant go in a lull because its hard to come back, he said.Trailing by 26 points early in the third quarter, Eagle Valley rekindled its offense and pulled to within 14 points of Palisade late in the fourth quarter.In the third quarter, we scored 15 points and Jeanette (Baker) started getting more confident, and we started setting picks to get more people open and we started moving the ball a little better, Reagan said.Baker had a game-high 17 points, while Pitre led the Bulldogs with 15. Sarah Hays chipped in 13 for Palisade.Sarah really runs the show for us, Muller said.Yvette Parra came off the bench for the Devils and moved the ball well at point guard while also picking up 4 points. Miranda Aragon tallied 6 points, while Jackie Eberhard added 5 despite sitting on the bench for a while due to foul trouble. Jamie Bair, who took the starting spot of a sick Kacey Bair, played strong under the rim, grabbing 7 boards.The Devils (1-1 in the 4A Western Slope) went 7-for-9 from the line, while Palisade (3-0) was 15-for-30.If we want to take that next step, we have to work on our free throws, Muller said.Eagle Valley hosts Glenwood Springs on Tuesday, with the girls tipping off at 6 p.m.Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at icropp@vaildaily.com.


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