Huskies looking to rebound in 2004-05
Boys’ basketball team is primed for improvement By Chris FreudDaily Sports EditorEAGLE-VAIL – Last year just wasn’t pretty for Battle Mountain boys basketball.The Huskies went winless in the 4A Slope and only salvaged their season with a win at Delta in a pig-tail game in February.
But last year’s pain could well pay off for Battle Mountain in 2004-05. The Huskies are a year older, a year more experienced and a year taller. It’s amazing what a little continuity can do for a team.”We’re looking to do something now,” said coach Philip Tronsrue, who’s starting his third year with the team. “We have eight guys who have been with us three years. There’s a sense of understanding what we’re trying to get done, being more mature. We’re juniors and seniors now playing against juniors and seniors, as opposed to freshmen and sophomores playing against juniors and seniors.”The roster bears that out. All of Battle Mountain’s starters are upperclassmen. There’s just one underclassman, Andrew Martinez, on the varsity team.Deep and tallIn a departure from years past, the Huskies aren’t a small, scrappy bunch. They’ve got size and should be able to pound it inside against the best of the Slope.”I see people trying to play some zone against us just because of our size, especially if we slip in our three big guys,” Tronsrue said. “I think they’re going to try to sag back. So, I think we’re going to have perimeter shooting. I think we’re capable of doing that. Derek (Rush), Thomas (Pacheco), Connor (Drumm) and Rogelio (Loya) all can shoot the 3-ball really well.”
Junior Kyle Leffler will be running the show at the point. Pacheco is the shooting guard. Rush, healthy after a tough football season, is at small forward. Clint Wilson is going to be a big presence at power forward and welcome to 6-foot-7 Trent Beckley at center.Off the bench, there’s more strength in the form of Connor Drumm, T.J. Montoya, Vinny Cisneros, Kenny Brodin, Martinez and Loya.”We’ve been working hard,” Wilson said. “We’ve got some big players, too. So, we should be one of the biggest teams in the Slope. We’ve got size and shooters. Because we have shooters, we’ve been doing pretty good inside, just putting up shots and making them.”The SlopeSean Flohr and Glenwood Springs figure to be the favorites in the 4A Slope. Battle Mountain gets its first look at the league at the Western Slope Invitational at Moffat next weekend.Before that, the Huskies have the Pagosa Springs Tournament this weekend. Friday, the Huskies take on Aztec, N.M.. Saturday, Battle Mountain gets the hosts, who are ranked No. 1 in 3A. The tourney ends with 3A Gunnison.
New for 2004-05 is that Eagle Valley has moved to 4A which means a home-and-home with the Devils Jan. 8 in Eagle-Vail and Feb. 1 in Gypsum.”I think it’s fun,” Tronsrue said. “I’m used to having a lot of rivalries. They’re our rivalry and now we get to play them twice – home and away. I think it’s going to be really good. We’ll get a lot of excitement within this county.”As for the rest of the Slope, Tronsrue firmly expects the Huskies to rise out of the cellar.”I look for us to scare a lot of people,” He said. “I think we can start really competing from the get-go. I don’t know if we’re going to battle for the league title. I think we’re at least going to win some league games this year.”I will be very dissatisfied if we’re not vying for three, four or five in the league. I will disenchanted.”Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 614 or firstname.lastname@example.org.