Huskies’ JV edges Vail Christian |

Huskies’ JV edges Vail Christian

VC Vs. BMJV SM 1-24

EAGLE-VAIL – Never underestimate the power of peanut m&m’s, Pepsi, Huskies coach Philip Tronsrue and Battle Mountain boys basketball.”It works at all levels,” Tronsrue said after the Battle Mountain JV beat 1A Vail Christian, 49-48, Tuesday night in Eagle-Vail.In the interest of impartiality, the Vail Daily provided Tronsrue’s mandatory pregame snack, peanut m&m’s and a Pepsi, to both Vail Christian coach Sheldon Kuhns and Tronsrue.”I’m a Coca-Cola guy. I’m blaming this on you,” joked Kuhns.Snacks or not, Battle Mountain’s up-and-comers won this one with an effective full-court press, excellent guard play and a nice comeback in the fourth quarter for their third win of the year. Vail Christian did not help its cause with a sea of turnovers, missed shots and botched free throw attempts.For Battle Mountain’s JV, this season is critical. With the exception of Zac Adamson, Clay Wilson and D.J. VanCuren, who see occasional playing time with the big club, Battle Mountain varsity basketball graduates everybody come spring. “They’re starting to learn what it takes to play a good ballgame,” Tronsrue said. “I thought we did a pretty good job. We were behind all night, but we were within reach the whole night. All of a sudden we made some key steals. We were putting some pressure and we made some good baskets.””It’s pretty good because last year we had no wins at all. It’s a good change,” said Wilson, who led the Huskies with 15 points. “It’s really good because you get a lot of experience playing with younger people. So, you feel pretty good.”

StrategiesVail Christian led for most of the game with the usual suspects – Caleb Pearson (21 points) and Jaryd Francis (10) – doing the damage. But Battle Mountain found a way to come back despite the size advantage held by the Saints.”When you take a look at some of the other JV schools in our league, we’re under-sized,” Tronsrue said. “They need to learn we’ve got to front on the post. We’ve got to make sure we have back-side help. We can’t allow team to throw a post in there and let the post guy make moves because we’ll get eaten up.”Instead guards Wilson (15 points), Adamson (12) and Emmanuel Villeda (six) sliced through the Saints’ defense.Add to that a tenacious press and the Huskies had Vail Christian on the ropes.”They took us out of our game, but we took us out of our game. (Battle Mountain) did a good job. We didn’t play smart basketball,” Kuhns said.”The third quarter starts, we break (the press) three straight times and we got three straight layups. We should have done that all night. We have the ability to do that. We laid an egg. What can I say?”

Roaring backBattle Mountain’s comeback came in the fourth quarter. With 6:58 left, VanCuren took a big charge from Francis. VanCuren and Francis traded layups, giving the Saints a 41-39 lead. And then the Saints stopped hitting their free throws to the tune of 3-for-10 in the final eight minutes.”We’ve got to take advantage of opportunities when they’re there,” Kuhns said. “… We missed a bizillion free throws. We started the game hitting them all. It was just one of those nights. We seem to have those about every three or four games.”Villeda tied it at 43 and Wilson gave Battle Mountain the lead at 45-44 with 1:58 left. Vail Christian retook the lead, but Wilson’s layup with 55 seconds remaining gave the Huskies the lead for good at 47-46.The Saints wasted precious seconds in not fouling the Huskies. Once they did with 13 seconds left, they committed a lane violation on the front end of a missed one-and-one. Villeda was more than happy to oblige by sinking his next two free throws to end the game.White only, please

Both varsity teams have big conference games Friday. Vail Christian, coming off its big win Saturday over DeBeque in the 1A Mountain League, hosts Crested Butte at 8 p.m. at St. Clare. Meanwhile, the second-place Huskies host 4A Slope leader, Glenwood Springs, at 7:30 p.m.And the Huskies are hoping for a whiteout. Huskies fans, white clothes only.”Everyone in white,” Tronsrue said. “We should open up our gates two hours before and get all the people in white shirts in here and then maybe no Glenwood fans can get into the gym.”And in Edwards and Eagle-Vail, Coca-Colas and Pepsis will be administered appropriately.Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14630 or, Colorado

Support Local Journalism