It’s a wrap: The Freud Five
Congratulations to all those listed. You are all-league in some form or another and the county is well-represented.
Some notes before we get to our annual Freud Five:
• Eagle Valley boys basketball had three boys selected to first team, most in the 4A Slope. The Devils ladies also got three, and that tied San Bartlett’s bunch with Delta.
And the latter item might tell you something. Madeline Lounsberry, Mariel Gutierrez, Taylor Martin and Lauren Thorpe (honorable mention) do not graduate. While the Devils girls started strong and faded a bit, I think good things are ahead here.
• Player of the Year Award: Swept by Delta. Skylyn Webb and Chris Black.
• There are many repeat appearances, but what about Joe LyBarger? All-league in basketball is no surprise, but he was also all-league and the Slope’s Player of the Year in soccer. Baseball, Joe? Along those lines, we’re pretty sure Eagle Valley wrestling’s Andy Armstrong falls into this category as well with all-league football and regional and state titles in wrestling.
• If you’re a senior at Vail Christian, you’re all league. All six of the seniors who were able to play made it. On the other hand, how much of a surprise is it when the team is in the state tourney?
The Freud Five:
• Joe LyBarger, Huskies, point guard: Lots of good competition at this position – the Huskies, Devils and Saints all had their points get all-league of some form – but JLB raised his game this year, especially in the leadership department. (He’s JLB in my notes because he’s followed SLB, ELB and MLB, Sarah, Emily and Maddie.) Other teams sat on him because he was the Huskies’ main scoring threat. He still dropped dimes. As with soccer in the fall, LyBarger’s leadership skills really increased he went through the years.
• Robby Bowles, Saints, shooting guard: OK, he has one of the best pure shots I’ve seen in the 16 years I’ve covered hoops here. Battle Mountain’s Connor Drumm comes to mind, along with the next guy on this quintet. And while his 3-ball was always like giving the Saints a comfy quilt for security purposes, Bowles did a lot more than a traditional two-guard. He rebounded, ran and dished. He finishes with 1,210 points in his career at Vail Christian, just 11 shy of Jaryd Francis for the school record.
• Sam Lounsberry, Devils, small forward: Not very small, and that’s a good thing. As mentioned, Lounsberry’s a heck of a shooter, but he also learned to cut to the hole in the last two seasons and that made him scary. Back to the size, Lounsberry could fit in just about any scheme as a shooting guard or small or power forward, and that gave the Devils an edge as coach Jim Bair was rotating in Ryan Werner, Travis Edgar and Ayren-what’s-his-name. And Lounsberry and Bowles and Bowles and Lounsberry are your guys when you want someone on the line.
• Gunnar Wilson, Saints, power forward: He apparently can play basketball, too. He’s always had the skills, and this was the year he put it together. He’s not the biggest, but he was tough as nails in crunch time. When Vail Christian finally made the decision to play defense, Wilson usually had the opposition’s top scorer. Wilson, Zach Linder and Kevin Boselli were the rebounding corps. And, let’s face it, if you drop 32 at state, you make this team.
• Ayren Hart, Devils, center: Yep, a little out of position, but Hart must, must, must be on this team because he’s was the best basketball player in the county this season. He can play inside. He can play outside. He could start the transition. He could be on the other end of the transition. Hart gave Eagle Valley an extra dimension. At last check, Hart is going to Western State Colorado University to play football, as is Armstrong. Already in Gunnison are some guys named Jake Engle and Reeve Sanders. That should make for some interesting conversations.
• Sheldon Kuhns, Saints, coach: Along with Doug Bruce, Todd Ellsworth and Josh Sibley, Kuhns did a great job with Vail Christian. I still don’t think this was the most-talented Saints team, but it clicked and it was a joy to watch.
Joe LyBarger, all-league
Amadou Dath, honorable mention
Taylor Davidson, honorable mention
Ayren Hart, all-league
Sam Lounsberry, all-league
Juan Baca, all-league
Travis Edgar, honorable mention
Madeline Lounsberry, all-league
Mariel Gutierrez, all-league
Taylor Martin, all-league
Lauren Thorpe, honorable mention
Robby Bowles, all-league, all-state game
Kevin Boselli, all-league
Nigel Johnsen, honorable mention
Austin Ellsworth, honorable mention
Gunnar Wilson, honorable mention
Zach Linder, honorable mention
Paris Baker, all-league
Jessie Hartley, honorable mention
Mitch Saalfeld, honorable mention