Local cagers dot all-league teams | VailDaily.com

Local cagers dot all-league teams

Chris Freud
Vail, CO Colorado

‘Tis the season for fantasy baseball – if you haven’t done so already, Freud recommends San Francisco’s Madison Bumgarner as a nice addition to your pitching staff – but try this on for size.

If you were putting together a fantasy team of local high school basketball, who’s your starting five for the boys? There are three strong candidates at point guard alone. Shooting guard? Eagle Valley could put two guys there alone easily, yet Vail Christian has a pretty good two-guard.

Forwards? OMG, as the kids might thumb.

There was no shortage of excellent players – both boys and girls – locally and the all-league rolls confirm it. We take you through it.

Eagle Valley

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The Devils boys got five total selections, but I have two questions. Eagle Valley has only two first-teamers – congratulations to Tim Wells and Cooper Senn – while Delta had four and Steamboat Springs three? And where in the wide, wide world of sports is point-guard Juan Baca?

Answering the first question, stats are a big part of postseason awards, and Delta’s fast-break system produces players with numbers, while the Devils’ defense-first makes for a much, more balanced offense. But Steamboat with three guys on the first team from a 5-7 squad and only two from a school that went 10-2 in the Slope and tied for a league title?


Why Baca got no all-league recognition is beyond me. Were the coaches watching the same games I did? You’re all-league in my book, Juan.

As for the first-teamers, Wells represents Eagle Valley’s deadly perimeter game, and the senior also had a tendency to get hot at the right time ripping off a bunch of points in a very short period of time. Senn is a good selection, even though the numbers probably don’t show it. He’s a defensive rock.

The honorable mentions are Sam Lounsberry, Ayren Hart and Jeremy Sabo. A senior, Sabo should have merited some consideration for Player of the Year, and he would get my vote for Eagle Valley’s third all-league selection, if it existed. (Why don’t I have a vote?)

Lounsberry and Hart are both juniors and will be the heart of next year’s team, along with Baca. Devils coach Brent McConaghy is doubtless already feverishly preparing.

And speaking of next year, do you think Eagle Valley girls basketball is excited? The Devils two honorable-mention picks are freshman Mariel Gutierrez and sophomore Madeline Lounsberry.

Battle Mountain

It was a tough year for Tom Padilla’s team as the Huskies boys basketball team was pretty much derailed by injuries before the season even started. That didn’t take away from Joe LyBarger’s fine season at point guard. The junior drove to the bucket hard and made life miserable for opposing teams defensively. As the season progressed, LyBarger also assumed a leadership role on a young team.

Jake Engle, an honorable-mention pick, was LyBarger’s favorite target. Engle had a a good bounce-back year, being fully healthy after football injury the previous year.

Katia Lopez, the heart and soul of Battle Mountain girls basketball, was honorable mention as well. We hear she’s pretty good at track, too.

Vail Christian

The Senior Three strikes again for Vail Christian – McKenzie O’Brien, Ashlyn Gruber and Kylie Alexander are all-league. (If I had a nickel for every time I’ve typed these names, I would be living on a Caribbean Island by now.)

O’Brien was the leading scorer for the Saints, who nearly made state. Gruber was second on the team in both scoring and rebounding, and Alexander was all over the place playing every position except for center.

The surprise pick here is a nice one. Paris Baker made it. She has been a project for Vail Christian coach Doug Bruce, and she has become an increasing presence inside the paint.

There is no surprise on the boys’ side in Saints-ville. Don’t hold your breath here because point-guard Fernando Hernandez and Robby Bowles are the all-leaguers here. We hope that voting didn’t take long. Hernandez is the most-accomplished point guard in school history. Robby Bowles will end up being the same for shooting guards when he’s done next year.

Vail Mountain

If you don’t win games, you don’t get many postseason picks. Vail Mountain’s Sean McKeever and Paco Holguin got shunted to honorable mention, despite some impressive numbers. McKeever lead the 2A Slope in blocks, while all Holguin did was average a double-double per game.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or cfreud@vaildaily.com.

If I had to pick …

Here’s my all-county five for the guys. And, yes, I moved some people out of position. Sue me. Vail Christian’s Doug Bruce, with 401 career wins, is the coach.

Point guard: Fernando Hernandez, Saints

Shooting guard: Tim Wells, Devils

Power forward: Jeremy Sabo, Devils

Center: Sean McKeever, Gore Rangers

Small forward: Robby Bowles, Saints

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