Gerard named to all-league team
GYPSUM -Cody Gerard limped into his final basketball season at Eagle Valley.Two weeks ago, after a 68-56 loss to eighth-seeded Ranum in the first round of the 4A state playoffs, Gerard walked off the court for the final time. He left a legacy behind him.The four-year varsity player overcame an early season ankle injury to again lead his team in scoring for the second straight year. He also provided veteran intangibles – clutch free throw shooting, steady defense, and a patient all-around game.For his efforts, opposing coaches in the 4A Western Slope awarded Gerard the Devils’ lone all-league selection.
The honor follows up a 3A all-league selection and an all-state honorable mention from last year.”I can’t really say enough about him,” said coach Pat Gabriel, who went 10-12 in his first year at Eagle Valley. “He’s a quality kid and he works really hard. When I say quality, I mean he wasn’t just spinning his wheels and he wasn’t just sweating. He was sweating doing the right things – getting the drills, and doing the drills right. He was always executing accurately what we wanted him to do.”Senior point guard Kevin Cruz and junior transfer John Gabriel were awarded honorable mentions. Cruz, an honorable mention last year in the 3A Slope, led the team in steals and assists. Gabriel, who came to Eagle Valley from Glenwood Springs this year after his father took the head coaching job, was the leading rebounder for the Devils. “Teamwise, all three of them contributed,” Pat Gabriel said. “John was second in assists, second in steals and tied with Kevin in scoring. I am very pleased. I felt like the other coaches in the league had a pretty good pulse on our best kids. I hope that my contribution to our league was equally accurate.”
Cruz, in contrast to the even-keeled Gerard, was a player whose emotions were always cast on his face throughout the course of a game. Gabriel said his point guard’s ferocity on the court in games carried over to practice.”His personality is definitely a leadership personality,” Gabriel said. “He had a really good work ethic in practice. The best way to describe him is that he would really get down and get after it athletically. I think that sets for the bar for the kids when one of your better kids is doing that. Other kids are like, ‘Well shoot, I better get with it here.'”As for Gabriel’s son John, who played on the varsity team at Glenwood Springs as a sophomore, the coach said the transition to Eagle Valley didn’t come easily at first. After getting to know his new team and settling into his role, the junior became a force on both ends of the floor.
“John (being picked) is maybe a little bit of a surprise,” Gabriel said. “I think, in terms of our team, it was hard for them to figure out what to do with John and it was hard for John to figure out what to do for Eagle Valley because they didn’t know each other very well. It turned out good. Other teams had to mark him. They had to know where he was and respect what he was doing because otherwise he could be a problem for them.”Staff Writer Nate Peterson can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 608, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail, Colorado