Huskies get first Slope win since 2013
EDWARDS — Well, that’s out of the way.
After an 0-14 campaign in the 4A Western Slope during the 2013-14 season, the Battle Mountain boys basketball team started 2014-15 with a Slope win on Thursday night in Edwards.
And what better way to break into the win column than a 60-48 victory over archrival Eagle Valley?
“It’s good,” Huskies coach Tom Padilla said. “We’ve worked hard to get where we are and these kids believe. Unlike in years past, they believe.”
The Huskies also had a score to settle with the Devils, having not logged a win against their downvalley rivals since 2011, suffering seven straight losses to Eagle Valley. And that’s just in basketball. For guys like Owen Riley and Chase Keep, they’ve been on the wrong end of Eagle Valley-Battle Mountain in football as well.
“It’s so exciting,” Riley said. “That’s my first win against Eagle Valley on varsity, and it’s just the greatest feeling.”
Battle Mountain took the lead with Riley popping consecutive 3-pointers to start the game. Riley ended up having a big night with 24 points.
The Huskies never looked back. Up 29-18 at the half, the Huskies’ Abdoulaye Dath, who finished with 10 points, put to rest any hopes that Eagle Valley could come back with several slashing drives to the hole during the start of the second half.
Battle Mountain improved to 3-4 overall and 1-0 in league.
A candid assessment of the Devils is that they’re young. Eagle Valley (0-7) has only three upperclassmen on its roster (Jaysen Jimenez, Slater Sabo and Nick Martinez), and the rest are sophomores.
Eagle Valley is taking its lumps now, but gaining precious varsity experience as it goes through the early season. The Devils did show some pluck by taking four charges in the first half alone.
Sophomore Christian Pates led the Devils with 10 points, while Arturo Loera, also a sophomore, had nine.
Devils girls rally past Huskies
Welcome to “My Favorite Martin,” the Eagle Valley edition.
OK, it’s meant to be Martian, but the Martin sisters, along with Katie McKay, proved too much for Battle Mountain on Thursday night in Edwards as the visiting Devils overcame a 21-13 halftime deficit for a 44-33 win against the Huskies in the 4A Slope opener for both teams.
For Eagle Valley, it was a matter of getting the ball moving on offense. Ironically on the Devils’ first possession of the game, Eagle Valley executed its offense perfectly with Mariel Gutierrez feeding Jessie Chambers for a great look.
But after that, the spigot turned off for the Devils (6-1, 1-0).
“What was more concerning was our defense,” Devils coach Sam Bartlett said. “Sometimes, we have a hard time early getting the ball in the basket. But we gave up eight points on fast-break layups, including one at the end of the first half. Offensively, it was settling down. We weren’t patient.”
McKay’s 3 with 5:50 left in the third started Eagle Valley’s surge. McKay added a nifty layup a half minute later. Eagle Valley caught Battle Mountain napping on an inbounds pass underneath the hoop.
Kylie Martin neatly deposited it in the net for Eagle Valley’s first lead of the game — 24-23 — since that first possession of the game.
The Huskies rallied nicely behind buckets from Aileen Arreola and Elizabeth Olivas for a 29-26 advantage after three quarters.
Martin, who led all scorers with 17, started the fourth by ripping the twine twice. The latter gave the Devils the lead for good at 32-31. After Gutierrez sank one from the charity stripe, Martin was fouled on a 3-point attempt. She sank all three of her attempts from the line.
The Devils put on the full-court press and caused mayhem.
“(Battle Mountain) definitely controlled the tempo,” Bartlett said. “It was tough to get the press on because we weren’t getting any baskets.”
Not to be left out, Taylor Martin added a basket to push Eagle Valley out in front 38-31.
While it was a tough loss for the Huskies (3-3, 0-1), Battle Mountain was competitive for the entire stretch of the game. Given that Eagle Valley has dominated the rivalry in recent years, it’s progress. Olivas topped the Huskies with 14 points.
Battle Mountain’s teams are at Delta on Saturday, while Eagle Valley’s squads host Steamboat Springs before everyone heads off for the holiday break.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.