Huskies freshmen hang on against Vail Mountain
EAGLE-VAIL, Colorado ” There is good news on the horizon for Battle Mountain basketball.
The Huskies have a talented bunch of freshmen who moved to 5-3 this season with a 41-39 victory Tuesday night against the Vail Mountain School.
“One of the things we’re trying to teach them is a winning attitude, to know that they can and how to hang on at the end and win like this one,” Battle Mountain freshman coach Gary Weiss said.
And in program with only a brief winning tradition ” just three winning seasons at the varsity level since moving up to 4A in 2000 ” that is critical.
The Huskies showed their mettle, overcoming a 14-3 VMS run during the third quarter and a 33-30 Gore Rangers lead in the fourth quarter for their third win in a row.
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On the other side of the coin, the lesson of the day for VMS, in the first year of its program, was learning to play with a lead.
“I am so thrilled with my kids. We came out, they had a game plan. They executed fairly well,” said VMS coach Vincent Cisneros. “We turned the ball over toward the end of the game. We’ve just got to learn how to close out, finish our free throws and layups.”
VMS did just about everything right in the third quarter. With the exception of a 3-pointer from Jonathon Vargas, the Gore Rangers rolled. Stefan Sterett put up six points during the rampage, while Tony Hernandez, Sean McKeever, Alex Bard and Tony Hernandez had buckets giving the visitors a 31-28 lead.
VMS held that lead halfway through the fourth when the Huskies rallied. A pair of free throws from Chris Duran, a lay-in from Vargas and a put-back from Jake Engle put the Huskies up 40-37.
Both teams understandably struggled in the final phase of the game. VMS didn’t foul quickly enough, losing precious seconds. Meanwhile, once on the line, the Huskies couldn’t convert to widen their lead. Nate Carter and Reeve Sanders saved the day for Battle Mountain with critical steals.
VMS heads to Aspen Thursday, while the Huskies are at a tournament at Eagle Valley Saturday.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.