Huskies survive overtime thriller vs. Devils
GYPSUM — Rule No. 1 of Eagle Valley boys basketball is don’t burn the gym down with the new flame which is part of the team’s entry into its home gym before games.
Rule 1(a) is that Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley may nearly burn down the gym with a barnburner of a rivalry game.
Eagle Valley seemed done like dinner, down 34-20 at the half and with their point guard Arturo Loera fouled out with 4:39 left in the third quarter, but the Devils forced overtime with a Griffin Lay bucket with 6.2 seconds left in regulation on Thursday night in Gypsum.
Tied at 52, the Huskies managed to revive themselves from a second-half coma to win 57-54 in overtime.
Battle Mountain started the extra session with a 5-0 run. Dememtrius Parrish, who hadn’t scored in regulation, naturally had a layup. Battle Mountain’s Qwahn Kent and Parish managed three free throws in six attempts to push the lead to 57-52. (The Huskies were dreadful from the line on Thursday.)
Eagle Valley’s Jimmy Murphy sank two freebies to make it 57-54 and tried a 3 at the buzzer to no avail.
That was cruel twist of fate for Murphy, who had a superb outing with a game-high 21 points.
And with that, we welcome back Battle Mountain coach Phil Tronsrue to the rivalry, even though his team tried to kill him on Thursday night.
“I guess so,” he joked while composing himself after the chaos.
On a serious note …
“We’ve been able to close teams out, but we respect Eagle Valley,” the coach said. “We know they come to play. (Eagle Valley coach) Chris Walls has them ready and they’re not going to give up. They didn’t. We got sloppy and careless. When teams are down and they chip away, they start to believe. Eagle Valley did.”
While disappointed with the loss, Walls gave his team props after the game.
“What we just talked about was that every game is stepping stone,” he said. “What we learned was how to bounce back. I’m very proud of them.”
He should be. Eagle Valley should have been down and out, trailing by as many as 17 on Thursday night. By the end of the game, four Devils players had fouled out, but Eagle Valley was still swinging.
“We made a couple of adjustments (at the half),” Walls said. “We boxed out better and then offensively pushed the ball, attacking the basket. We were not just settling for shots we didn’t want.”
Martin leads Devils to win
GYPSUM — Basketball can be complicated and elaborate. It can also be simple, at times —like get Eagle Valley’s Kylie Martin the darn ball so she can go to work.
That worked for the Devils on Thursday night as Martin dropped 25 points on the Huskies as Eagle Valley girls basketball defeated Battle Mountain, 53-44 in Round 1 of the county rivalry.
“It’s just teamwork,” Martin said. “They get me the ball. They help me get open, and I’m able to score. It’s awesome to have this team. I love playing with this team.”
It’s important to remember that, while Martin has lit up scorebooks and websites with her scoring numbers so far this month, there has to be more than her doing her thing. That much was apparent during the third quarter when the Devils started to breakaway from a competitive Battle Mountain squad.
Martin started the half with a tough put-back, and followed with a 3-point play. Ashley Floyd ripped off five more points including a 3 from downtown, giving the Devils (4-3 overall and 1-0 in the Slope) the balance inside and outside that they’ll need for a playoff push. In the fourth quarter, Regan Bossow did the same from outside for Eagle Valley.
“It’s extremely important,” Devils coach Sam Bartlett said. “Ashley and Regan both showed what they can do. Regan didn’t play like a sophomore and we’ve missed Ashley for the last four games. If we shoot the ball well, they won’t be able to double-down on Kylie.”
With 1:58 left in the third, Martin drained her own 3, which just isn’t fair from a post player of her caliber, and the Devils led by 10 at 38-28, a lead they would hold the rest of the way.
Battle Mountain (2-4, 0-1) left Gypsum knowing that it can play with Slope. Junior Monique Stevens started the game with two 3s and that gave the Huskies some room to operate inside. Battle Mountain has some decent size inside with Jessica and Sara Sullivan, Claire Krueger and Skye Whitney.
The key will be reducing turnovers, particularly in transition as well as converting from the line, both problem spots on Thursday.
“Free throws are just killing us,” Huskies coach Paul Stevens said. “We’re competitive. It wasn’t a blowout. We lost by how many? We just killed ourselves with mistakes.”
Battle Mountain teams are at Delta on Saturday, while the Devils head north to face Steamboat Springs.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.