Huskies make their case
EAGLE-VAIL – You can be sure that the Battle Mountain boys basketball team will be surfing the net today. The Huskies site of choice will be http://www.chsaa.org.Today is Selection Sunday for the 4A state tournament. Only conference champions are assured of berths in the 48-team field. The scuttlebutt around the 4A Slope is that CHSAA is only taking four from the league.The Huskies clinched the fourth spot in the Slope with a 66-50 win over Moffat County Saturday night and the Huskies are convinced that they’re going to the state playoffs for the first time in school history. “Battle Mountain is a playoff team,” Huskies coach Philip Tronsrue said. “They are not going to take that away from us. We are 15-7. We are 8-6 in the conference. We are going to the playoffs. I don’t know what seed. I don’t know how good the seed we’ll be. We’re playing a playoff game next Friday night. Battle Mountain basketball.””It sends chills up my spine. It really does,” Huskies senior Vinny Cisneros said. “The first time in school history, I just feel real proud of it. Whoever it is, they just know they’ve got a good game coming to them.”One year ago, Battle Mountain basketball and state playoffs would have been an inconceivable notion. The team was 0-12 in league and 3-18 overall. It has been a tremendous turnaround in Eagle-Vail this season.”We always start the year off and we think we can do things,” Tronsrue said. “I’ve always told these guys, ‘You’ve just got to keep persevering.’ We’re finally at the stage where we can play with everybody in the league. We’ve always been playing young kids and that’s been the problem. This group has experience on the varsity floor now and we’re just going to get stronger. But, yes, it’s better than I thought it was going to be.”Vinny and Rogelio
Battle Mountain’s Connor Drumm was battling the flu and had a season-low two points – though that bucket was a dunk in the fourth. Clint Wilson’s back was hurting and he only accounted for seven. This win showed Battle Mountain’s depth.That would be a cue for Cisneros and Rogelio Loya, who put the Huskies on their back. At halftime, the Huskies led just 27-17. Cisneros started the game-turning third period with a 3 and the Huskies were off to the races.In an extremely physical third period, in which Moffat’s Hugo Quezada got tossed, it was The Cisneros and Loya Show. Cisneros had bookend treys. In between, Loya had seven points as Battle Mountain outscored Moffat, 17-4, to break the game open.Cisneros led the Huskies with 16, while Loya finished with 14.”Rogelio’s been playing really good lately for us,” Tronsrue said. “He’s been putting some numbers on the board. He had 19 against Palisade. Last night, Vinny had 10 points. He hasn’t been getting a lot of playing time. He’s feeling really comfortable right now. We need to have other guys. We can’t have five guys running 32 minutes.”The Moffat bench was visibly upset at the officiating, but there were few gripes after the game.”I don’t want to get negative,” Moffat coach Mike LeWarne said. “Hugo should not have not gotten kicked out of the game. That’s the only comment I’ll make about the officiating because the rest was non-biased.”Moffat finishes the season with a 9-12 record overall and a 5-9 mark in the Slope.”I just told them I wasn’t ready for the season to be over. I like this team,” LeWarne said. “I like coaching them. I thought that we were really coming along. We had won our last three games before tonight. I told the boys how proud I am of how hard they work and to remember the feeling because we don’t want it to happen again.”
Many a Battle Mountain basketball coach have uttered worlds like these after a tough season. Not this year. Today, the Huskies surf the net.Moffat girls finish 21-1For the Moffat County girls basketball team, the season is just beginning.Battle Mountain’s season is over, barring a CHSAA-seeding miracle.The Bulldogs came to town and ripped off a 73-41 win over Battle Mountain to complete a perfect 14-0 Slope record and a 21-1 regular season.”We’re very proud of our girls,” Moffat coach Craig Mortensen said. “We’re very happy for them. We really have a pretty good team. They’ve done what I thought they could do. When we started out, I thought they could do this and they’ve done it.”Moffat rolled out to a 16-0 first quarter lead, led by as much as 20 in the second and never looked back.The Bulldogs had four players in double digits – Brandie Telfer (18), Angie Charchalis (12), Mari Katherine Raftopoulos (12) and Erin Robinson (10).
“(Friday) night, we had four players in double figurea and Brandie wasn’t one of them,” Mortensen said. “She’s our leading scorer. When she doesn’t score, we have other players to step up. We can score in a variety of ways. That makes it pretty tough to guard.”While the Bulldogs should be hosting a regional tournament, the Huskies finished the season at 5-9 and 8-13. Saturday night was a swan song for seniors Katie Hite, Alexis Guinn and Meagan Reigel.”I’ve had this group of girls since they were in seventh grade, started a summer basketball program with them,” Huskies coach David Hite said. “It’s going to be a very emotional locker room. They’re a great bunch of girls.”Though the season ended with four straight losses, likely knocking Battle Mountain out of playoff contention, it was a big step forward for the program. The marks of 5-9 and 8-13 were the best since the team moved up to 4A. This squad is the best for a Huskies girls team since the 1998-99 edition went 13-8.The 2005-06 season is right around the corner for these Huskies.”I’ve got a lot of girls talking to me about basketball,” Hite said. “They want open gym and they want to see how to get better. They see what it takes to be a competitive team. Moffat’s a very good team, but look at their program. Year after year, they keep their consistency.”Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 614 or email@example.com.Vail, Colorado