Huskies end skid with win over Palisade
EDWARDS — Battle Mountain boys basketball needed a win in the worst way on Friday night, and the Huskies got it against Palisade, 48-44.
It wasn’t the prettiest, but when a team’s lost seven in a row, any win’s a thing of beauty.
“I know we were down by seven at halftime, and we talked about reasserting ourselves and winning the third quarter,” Huskies coach Phil Tronsrue said. “And then we’ll talk about the fourth quarter.”
The Huskies were actually down 32-25 with 4:55 left in the third quarter, but the point stands. Battle Mountain clawed its was back to 32-32 by the end of 24 minutes.
Both teams went back and forth until Baker Gentry’s 16-foot jumper with 41 seconds left broke a 42-42 tie. That was part of a good game from the sophomore guard. Being a sophomore, Gentry’s had his ups and downs at the varsity level. Friday night was definitely on the positive side of the ledger with 17 points.
Then came the bizarre. Palisade called a timeout with 24.2 seconds left, but the Bulldogs were late coming out of the huddle. As are the rules, the ball is placed on the sideline, and the refs start counting toward 5 seconds.
Palisade was rushed with the inbound pass and Miles Joersz was there for the steal and the layup and a 46-42 lead. Palisade’s Max Noland had a bucket with 8.5 seconds left. Creek Kamby got the inbound pass to Joersz who was immediately fouled.
Those who have been following Huskies basketball know that the free-throw line has been a bit of a rollercoaster this season. Joersz knocked both of his shots down, and Battle Mountain was back in the win column.
The Huskies (6-11 overall and 3-4 in the Slope) hope to get big-man Devin Huffman (ankle) back for Tuesday’s game at Summit County, but they’re aren’t going to rush him back.
Despite a 6-11 record, the Huskies are in good shape in the rating-percentage index with regard to making the state 48. It’s their hope that this was the game that starts them rolling toward the postseason.
Lady Bulldogs surge past Lady Huskies
It was a good week.
It’s important to keep that in mind after a 53-33 loss to Palisade on Friday night. Yes, the Battle Mountain girls basketball team went 1-2 this week, but a 1-2 record against the three best teams — Eagle Valley, Rifle and Palisade — in the 4A Slope is progress.
Perhaps, the team’s expectations rose after beating Eagle Valley on Tuesday, but that’s fine. It’s time for the program to raise its collective expectation. Even after Friday’s loss, Battle Mountain’s 10-5 and 3-4, a lot better than the team has been at this point in seasons past.
The Huskies were competitive for the first half against the two-time defending champions of the Slope, trailing just 25-21. The visiting Bulldogs went on a 14-2 run in third quarter and that was that.
The bigger question is whether the Huskies can carry over the progress of this week’s games to the rest of the season, and, in particular, league tilts at Summit County on Tuesday and Steamboat Springs at home on Thursday.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.