Here are the marching orders for preps teams
We are going to be signing off from prep sports after this weekend, so it’s time for some marching orders for our local squads:
• I am psyched about girls basketball. Yes, I just said that. The Vail Christian ladies lost a tough one in Soroco, but that happens. Soroco is just a tough place to play and bad things happen. (Saints boys coach Sheldon Kuhns can tell you a few …)
This bunch is exciting to watch, and I will miss watching Doug Bruce’s crew as we do coverage of the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. It’s not just Jessie Raitt, though, holy cow, she’s a freshman point guard who’s going nuts in a good way.
The Saints have a very solid crew of players who got varsity experience at a young age in Jessie Hartley, Remy Beveridge, Coco Spangler and Canyon Baker. Kass Baker and Brittney Bossow also have come in and the Saints have options.
(By the way, a Saints team isn’t a Saints team without at least one Baker or an Ellsworth. This is kind of like ye olden days with the Parkers, people.)
This team is young and will have their ups and downs. That’s to be expected. Senior Night this year is going to be kind of brief. The key for this group will be the ability to learn from the down moments and improve from them.
• Vail Christian’s ladies scored 69 points in last weekend’s win against West Grand, which got me to thinking, “What’s the record?” The most points the Lady Saints have scored in searching through the archives was a 65-54 win over Ouray in the now defunct 1A Mountain League on Jan. 13, 2007. I remember that simply because we ran the headline “Hooray: Lady Saints beat Ouray.” I was very proud of that headline.
• Continuing with girls hoops, Eagle Valley. You can play with every team in the league. You’ve got size. You’ve got a really annoying guard. (Mariel Gutierrez, you’re annoying in a really good way.) You can play defense. You can run.
Yes, it is Jan. 16, and you’re playing Rifle today. I know this, but we’ve got to talk about February. Your goal is to finish the season, as opposed to staggering into the regional tournament.
February has not been good (5-17 the last two years). That has to change. Don’t send me grumpy emails, fans. Coach Sam Bartlett knows this, too, very well. He was going to be bringing it up as well.
You need to finish what you start. I want to see you ladies marching into the regional tournament when I get back from Worlds.
• Battle Mountain, you’re starting to get it. Make coach Vinny Cisneros say “Boo-yah” over and over. That’ll be a good sign.
• I am most intrigued by Eagle Valley of the three teams. Yep, the team with the 1-whatever record. When Glenwood came to town, you had alums like Sam Lounsberry, Jeremy Sabo and Ayren Hart watching from the stands.
Good to see those guys, but the point is that they lived this, too. Before Lounsberry, Hart (whose younger brother happens to be Christian Pates), Sabo (Hello, Slater), Juan Baca, Tim Wells, Ryan Werner and Travis Edgar were winning a Slope title and going to the state tournament, they were getting thumped, too.
And the above-mentioned came out the other side. Keep with it. Keep learning. We’re going to be laughing about this when the current sophomores are seniors. I have seen this happen with every school I’ve covered, regardless of sport. Keep the faith.
• Vail Christian boys basketball is 3-0 in the Gore League and won at Hayden and at Soroco. Great. Now, settle down. You’ve played eight of 19 games. You are not the best thing since sliced bread.
You need to have better defense, better rebounding, better everything. The other side of the 2A Slope, aka the Mesa League, is much better than the Gore.
• I’m still in shock that I didn’t recognize Austin Ellsworth. Sorry, Austin.
• Battle Mountain, you’ve got talent. (No, I don’t work for NBC.) Your task is to figure out what the game situation requires and keep composure. You beat Summit, but the Tigers made it far too interesting.
Other news and notes
• This happened a while ago, but it deserves mention — Eagle Valley wrestling beat Palisade, 42-40, in a dual. Sweet! (And the Devils had to forfeit two weight classes, 12 free points to the Bulldogs.)
• Battle Mountain wrestling is growing, and I’m excited to see it. There was a time when this was a good program … a very long time ago (2000). The Huskies had three in podium matches at Saturday’s Eagle Valley Invite. I haven’t seen that in ages.
• How times have changed: It used to be a really big thing when a football coach could burn DVDs of a Friday night game in time for Saturday. Now, wrestlers just have their friends use their phones or iPads to record an entire match. Instant video feedback.
• Battle Mountain hockey looks like it’s on the brink of making the top-10 rankings. Wanna make a real splash? Regis comes to town on Saturday.
See you at the games.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.