Huskies boys hang on for win against Devils
EDWARDS — And that was pretty much the donnybrook everyone expected.
Battle Mountain boys basketball eeked out a 47-42 win over Eagle Valley on Thursday in Edwards for what could be a critical sweep of the Devils come district-tournament time.
Battle Mountain moved to 4-4 in the Slope, strengthening its hold on one of the league’s five district spots, while the Devils dropped to 3-5. Should the local 4A teams end the season tied, the Huskies have the tiebreaker.
“We’ve been thinking about districts all the way,” Huskies senior guard Miles Joersz, who led his team with 16 points, said. “Our minds are on it. It’s one of our goals.”
As for the game itself, it’s another chapter of close games between the two schools.
“To be honest, we knew (Eagle Valley was) going to come in play hard,” Huskies coach Phil Tronsrue said. “They’re playing a lot better than they were when we saw them last. I saw them Saturday against Palisade. We knew they were going to try to slow it down and play zone. We just needed to be patient and move the ball a bit more and get good looks.”
Both teams traded haymakers early with Huskies’ Joersz and the Devil Arturo Loera going off from beyond the arc in the first half. With the first meeting of the season going to overtime in Gypsum, it was no surprise that Thursday night came down to the final minutes.
With 2:00 left in regulation, Loera, who led the Devils with 16 points, knocked down a free throw to tie it at 38. Twenty-nine seconds later, the Huskies Jack Skidmore had the biggest play of the game with a layup and drawing the foul for a 3-point play.
Up 41-38, the Huskies defense stood and Battle Mountain, by and large, made its free throws late, with the occasional bizarre lane violation.
“We didn’t execute as well as we had hoped,” Devils coach Chris Wells said. “We couldn’t get our transition game going. We put in some half-court sets, some new things which we hoped would open lanes and spread the ball to Jesus (Loera) and Dawson (Keller). We also didn’t adjust well to the way the game was being officiated. But give Phil all the credit in the world. His guys were ready.”
There is still a ton of basketball to go, and, doubtlessly, there will be surprises in the Slope down the stretch. Along those lines, Battle Mountain finishes the season with five of its last six at home, and the Huskies are looking to make a run.
“Most definitely,” Tronsrue said. “We’ve talked about how this is a big week for us. We’ve got Delta tomorrow (tonight), and we let one slip there. We owe them one.”
Devils girls hang on for win
Regan Bossow started it with a 3-pointer and she essentially ended it with a 3-pointer as Eagle Valley girls basketball won its 10th consecutive game against cross-county rival Battle Mountain, 47-42, on Thursday night in Edwards.
In between, the Devils and Huskies traded blows in a physical, defensive affair.
“I think our team was happy with that two minute stretch in third quarter,” Devils coach Sam Bartlett said somewhat jokingly. “We missed a lot of shots and so did they. It was a game all the way through. We really need to work on our fourth quarters.”
Battle Mountain took the lead briefly in the third quarter at 22-21 on two free throws from Dylan Barker, who led all scorers with 17 points. Eagle Valley (10-5 overall and 7-2 in the Slope) managed to squeeze out a five-point lead by the end of the third quarter.
After the Huskies cut it to four again in the fourth quarter, Kylie Martin and Ashley Floyd went 3-for-4 from the line and Martin had a put back. Miss Bossow followed from downtown and the Devils had a 44-34 lead with 2:15 left.
Yet, the Huskies (4-9 and 2-6) kept fighting, and this stretch would also be why Bartlett was talking about his team finishing better.
Martin led the Devils with 15 points.
As for the Huskies, they’ve played the Devils tightly twice this season and are certainly showing to be in the mix in a lot of Slope games.
“It boils down to finishing,” Huskies coach Paul Stevens said. “How many times have I said that? We can’t finish off our opportunities. We miss some layups and some easy stuff earlier, and we’re always playing from behind.”
Battle Mountain’s teams host Delta tonight, while the Devils squads host Summit County on Tuesday.
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.