Eagle Valley bests Battle Mountain in rivalry basketball games
Devils girls defeat Huskies 50-38 in Edwards; boys defeat Huskies 60-46
Last February, Battle Mountain girls basketball beat Eagle Valley 56-14 in Gypsum. It was a painful memory, to be sure. On Tuesday night, the score was written on the Devils’s locker room whiteboard before they took the floor to start 4A Western Slope league play in Edwards.
“These guys crushed on us our home floor last year,” head coach Vinny Cisneros said.
”I wanted to remind them what they did to us on our home floor, and that we have more to prove than just winning a rivalry game. We have to make this a rivalry again.“
Suffice it to say, with a 50-38 victory over their cross-county hosts, mission accomplished.
Even though Battle Mountain boasted a 4-3 record and was playing in front of a home crowd, it was the Devils who came into the Huskies’ den as the aggressor, bursting out to an 8-2 first quarter lead. Playing physical and fast, the gap would grow to 27-15 at halftime, thanks in part to a 9-0 spurt to close the second quarter.
“The ultimate goal was to try to get them tired,” Cisneros said.
“We figured that every opportunity we had to run, we were going to take it.”
Lauren Hauseman led the Devils with 10 first half points, and Josie Fitzsimmons chipped in six more in the opening two quarters.
“As a team, collectively, we played really well together and worked the ball and never forgot what our goals were at the beginning,” Hauseman said, noting the plan was to “run the floor, all 84 feet.”
Late in the third quarter, it was clear the tables had turned. Suddenly, it was the Huskies who were playing with speed and sass. Mia Bettis and Elizabeth Keiser spurned an 8-0 run to make it 29-25 with just 1:57 to go in the period. Out of timeouts, Cisneros could only hope his athletes would be able to weather the storm on their own. They did.
Alyssa Jones made back-to-back hustle plays on the offensive glass, getting to the line and helping the Devils push the lead back to eight, 35-27, by the end of the quarter.
“Credit to these girls for being able to close out a game through all of that adversity without me being able to call any timeouts to settle things down,” Cisneros praised.
For Battle Mountain, slow starts have been all too common.
“We’ve been a little slow to start all year,” Battle Mountain coach Jim Schuppler said, noting his crew missed 20 layups in the game.
“That was our message at the end of the game: we’ve got to bring more energy in practice, we’ve got to bring more energy at the beginning of the game, and if we don’t, we’re going to be digging out of holes all night.”
The fourth quarter was all Devils. An 8-3 run made it 43-30 with five minutes remaining. From there, even though the rhythm of the game had slowed, the outcome was never in doubt, as the visitors cruised to a 50-38 final.
“We were 0-2 last year, so it feels good to get one back and make this what it’s supposed to be,” Cisneros said about the return of the rivalry. On the Battle Mountain side, while there was a recognition of the return, there was also an element of disappointment in letting the red and black get the first punch of 2022’s rendition.
“They have some solid players, and they are crawling back into it,” Schuppler said. “That was the message this week, that we need to own this rivalry and not wait for it to come to us, and we did not do that tonight.”
Eagle Valley Junior C.J. Yurcak noted an even more important outcome than simply stoking the school spirit fire.
“It’s a rivalry game of course, but it’s more about putting ourselves on top of the league than it is a rivalry game.”
Eagle Valley faces off against Summit on Thursday at home, while Battle Mountain travels to Frisco to play the Tigers on Friday.
Eagle Valley boys defeat Huskies 60-46
When a gym is packed full of familiar faces on both sides of the court, and its the league opener … and its a rivalry game, you can forgive adolescent guys for trying to show off a little.
From the opening points — a pull-up 25-footer from Nikko Von Stralendorff — members of both Eagle Valley’s and Battle Mountain’s boys basketball teams eschewed strict fundamentals in search of the highlight reel package. The result was a missed dunk or two and a lot of turnovers, but also a high energy night of hustle and passion as two rivals battled for bragging rights. In the end, the visitors from out west stole the show, tacking on some late free throws to beat the host Huskies 60-46.
A low scoring opening quarter saw the Devils cling to an 8-6 lead before growing the deficit to 10 by halftime. Things really got cooking late in the fourth, however, when Huskies guard Whitton Hyde nailed a corner 3-pointer to make it 41-39 with 5:37 to go. From there, it was back and forth until Max Jaramillo put the Huskies’ hopes to bed for good by drilling a 3-pointer and staring at the home student section for a not too brief moment as the scoreboard changed to 51-41.
Jaramillo led the Devils with 18 points, and Noah Denise and Von Stralendorff each chipped in 10 apiece. The Huskies were led by Hyde’s 10 and Roshawn Reid’s nine.
The Devils moved to 8-2 on the year and host Summit on Thursday, while the Huskies fall to 1-6 and travel to face the Tigers in Frisco on Friday.