Grand Junction Rolls past Battle Mountain, 70-27
Vail, CO Colorado
EAGLE-VAIL, Colorado ” Almost immediately following the opening tip, Grand Junction controlled every phase of Saturday night’s boys basketball game against Battle Mountain.
The Huskies struggled to match up with the Tigers’ size and athletic ability. That didn’t mean Battle Mountain gave up. Facing a big deficit in the second half, the Huskies continued to play hard before falling, 70-27.
“They are a talented 5A school,” Battle Mountain coach Phil Tronsrue said. “I’m pretty sure they made it to the final eight last year. The seniors this year were juniors on that team. They’re good, and I knew it was going to be tough for us.”
The two teams traded baskets to start the game, but it didn’t take long for the Tigers to establish their dominance. Geoff Baldwin and Everett Robinson found room inside and before fans had gotten comfortable, Grand Junction led 18-6.
Things only got worse in the second quarter for Battle Mountain.
The Tigers scored the first 25 points of the frame, building up a 45-8 advantage. Instead of throwing in the towel, Tronsrue challenged his team to keep playing hard in the second half.
“We talked at halftime about how we had to come out and play hard no matter what,” Tronsrue said. “We just don’t quit. We keep playing.”
Edward Banegas converted on the Huskies’ first possession after the break with a layup to make the score 45-12. A few minutes later, Mitch Cooley hit a running floater for another Battle Mountain basket.
In the fourth quarter, Miguel Copas made a strong move inside for a three-point play. Cooley added a second three-point play moments later with a nice give-and-go move.
Unfortunately for Battle Mountain, the Tigers offense didn’t slow down in the second half. Playing mostly reserves in the fourth quarter, Grand Junction kept hitting 3-pointers.
Battle Mountain now has plenty of time to iron out its offensive kinks before its next game on Jan. 6 against Evergreen.
“We’re going to do a lot of shooting,” Tronsrue said. “We aren’t knocking the three-ball down like I want too. We made seven three’s on Friday night, but we’re still around 35 percent (for the season). We are going to do a lot of shooting.”
Sports Writer Ian Smith can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.