In Eagle-Vail, Huskies finally get a win
EAGLE-VAIL, Colorado ” Kool and The Gang made their return to the Battle Mountain gym in Eagle-Vail, Colorado Saturday night.
The group’s song, “Celebration” wafted through the gym for the first time this year as the Huskies are officially off the schnide. After 13 losses to start the season, Battle Mountain boys basketball knocked off Palisade, 68-56, Saturday night.
“It’s what we’ve been waiting for the entire season,” Huskies junior Miguel Copas said. “We finally threw it down. I’m speechless.”
Copas can let his game do the talking. He had a career high 24 points against the Bulldogs.
The Huskies overcame a 30-21 deficit at halftime, powered by a trio of 3s from Parker Lathrop to tie the game at 42 after three periods. The Huskies proceeded to drop 26 points on Palisade in the final eight minutes to capture their first win.
“Our team has a lot of heart,” Lathrop said. “Our team has been pushing each other a lot of days in practice because we wanted to get this off our backs sooner rather than later.”
“It’s good,” said Huskies coach Philip Tronsrue. “We’ve had a couple of ball games where we’ve went into overtime and we’ve let it slip away. We kept telling the guys, ‘Persevere, keep working. It’s going to turn and it’s going to turn real quickly.’ I’m pleased for them.”
Saturday’s game was looking a lot like Battle Mountain’s previous 13 in the first half. Things started to turn around with 5:58 left in third. Down 32-23, Lathrop got hot.
The junior knocked down three treys in the next three minutes, lighting a spark under the Huskies.
“I just wasn’t too happy with how I played in the first half, so I just felt like I needed to step it up,” Lathrop said. “I felt I could make those shots.”
And everyone else started getting the touch. Lathrop’s third bomb started an 11-0 run to end the third quarter. That run was capped by a slam from Copas, who’s been on a tear as of late.
“I tell you what. He’s been playing real well since we came back from the (holiday) break,” Tronsrue said. “You can’t ask anything more from him. He’s zoned in right now.”
Shawn Martinez gave the Huskies the lead for good with a layup to start the fourth quarter. Mitch Cooley, who finished the night with 12 points, scored Battle Mountain’s next eight points and the Huskies were on their way to a win.
While the Huskies deserve to celebrate this for about 24 hours, Tronsrue was quick to ground his squad with what’s ahead ” Eagle Valley on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Eagle-Vail.
Battle Mountain (1-13 overall and 1-5 in the 4A Slope) certainly has momentum going into the game against the Devils (2-13, 0-6), but Tronsrue naturally brought up the fact that Eagle Valley beat the Huskies, 58-56, on a 3 at the buzzer by Cesar Castillo one year ago in Eagle-Vail.
“We’re definitely going to talk about last year,” Tronsrue said. “We should not have dropped that home game last year. That’s going to be our focus. We only have one day to prepare adn we’re going to put a lot into that to get ready for Cesar and the Devils.”
The Battle Mountain’s girls basketball team is still searching for that elusive first win.
Palisade rolled past the Huskies, 71-26, as Battle Mountain fell to 0-15.
The Huskies actually led 3-2 in the early going before the Bulldogs ripped off a 19-3 run. Another 12-0 Palisade streak to start the second half ended any hopes of a comeback for Battle Mountain.
Kenia Olivas led the Huskies with 10 points.
The Huskies host Eagle Valley Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.