Huskies sweep Saints as basketball season starts
EDWARDS — The shouts, the whistles and the squeak of sneakers on the hardwood are back, the soothing sounds of basketball season.
Battle Mountain and Vail Christian boys basketball started 2016-17 with their annual get-together at the Vail Christian Tip-Off Tournament on Friday at Edwards’ Wheeler Athletic Center, and the Huskies won bragging rights with a 73-41 win over the Saints.
“It’s very good,” Huskies coach Phil Tronsrue said. “We had a good week of practice and we were ready to get after it. We like this tournament. It’s a good way to open the season. We did a lot of good things, but we also have a lot to improve.”
After a score like the above-mentioned, it’s a good time to remind everyone that this is the first of 23 for Battle Mountain and one of 19 for Vail Christian.
If you’re a Huskies fan, the first thing you liked was that Devin Huffman dominated the paint, racking up 13 points during the first half on his way to a total of 20. Battle Mountain had a size advantage against Vail Christian, and used it. The Huskies hope that Huffman continues his development as a big man.
And then there was sophomore guard Baker Gentry, making a splash in his debut with the Huskies. Battle Mountain knew it had size, but adding Gentry on the perimeter with Miles Joersz and Taylor Staughton bodes well.
The Huskies led 21-4 after one quarter and 41-16 at the half.
For Saints partisans, it’s helpful to remember that Battle Mountain took Vail Christian to the woodshed last year, and the latter ended up having a great year nonetheless. And, while every season is a new story, last year is an apropos. The Saints are, pardon the expression, young, and small.
Friday, Vail Christian was in the deep end of the pool, but will likely learn how to play at the varsity level. Without a big man like Alex Davis, the Saints will work on positioning in the paint and capitalizing on their speed. Bryan Trujllo led the Saints with 16 points.
Battle Mountain takes on Longmont Christian today at 3:30 p.m., while Vail Christian faces Telluride at 12:30 p.m.
Huskies girls win
The plan was simple — deny the middle and everything else would be fine.
Battle Mountain girls basketball stepped up its effort in the paint defensively in its season opener against Vail Christian and turned an 18-12 halftime deficit into a 41-30 win on Friday night at the Wheeler Athletic Center in Edwards.
“We just wanted to get out and run,” Huskies coach Paul Stevens said. “If we took the middle away, they would get tired.”
It being the first game of the season, both the Saints and Huskies were rusty offensively. Vail Christian went on a span of 7:52 without a point in the first half, while the Huskies had an 11:05 drought.
Tied at nine during the second quarter, a Marti Schmidt pass to Kass Baker for two seemed to ignite Vail Christian. A Sarah Heredia layup and four more from Baker sent Vail Christian into the break with an 18-12 lead.
Heredia to Schmidt in the third quarter gave Vail Christian its biggest lead in the game at 24-14. Battle Mountain ripped off a 13-0 run to finish the third with field goals from Dylan Barker and Stephany Hernandez. The Huskies’ Monique Stevens hit a 3, followed by a slick jumper from Barker and a layup from Claire Krueger.
Up 27-24 to start the fourth, the Huskies continued to deny the lane to the Saints and defensive stops turned into more Battle Mountain transitions. Barker led the Huskies with 18 points, while Baker topped the Saints with 11.
Vail Christian plays Telluride today at 11 a.m. as the Vail Christian Tip-Off Tournament continues, while the Huskies meet Lake County at 2 p.m.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.