Now this is an exciting basketball team |

Now this is an exciting basketball team

Vail Christian's Sug Ellsworth is the Gore League's Player of the Year and a member of the Freud Five, which is actually made up of eight people.
Justin McCarty | Daily file photo |

All-league selections

Class 4A Western Slope

First team

Taylor Martin, Eagle Valley

Mariel Gutierrez, Eagle Valley

Elizabeth Olivas, Battle Mountain

Owen Riley, Battle Mountain

Honorable mention

Kylie Martin, Eagle Valley

Jessie Chambers, Eagle Valley

Creek Kamby, Battle Mountain

Jason Jimenez, Eagle Valley

Class 2A Gore League

First team

Jessie Raitt, Vail Christian

Jessie Hartley, Vail Christian

Sug Ellsworth, Vail Christian

Cooper Gould, Vail Christian

Honorable mention

Remy Beveridge, Vail Christian

Logan Raitt, Vail Christian

Danny Caballero, Vail Christian

Yep, we’re sure you all had Michigan State in your brackets. Of course.

(OK, Vail Christian’s Mike Mutter, a Spartan through and through, has all four of his Final Four alive in his family’s pool.)

With that in mind, we still have some basketball business left. All-league for all three local schools finally came out last week with Vail Christian’s end-of-season banquet. Congrats to all.

But now, the unveiling of the Freud Five, my team that I’d take in a fantasy basketball league.

Point guard(s)

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The first rule of Fight Club — uh, Chris, you’re not Brad Pitt. OK, the first rule of the Freud Five is that Freud may make up the rules. Hence, I have two point guards on my team.

Eagle Valley’s Mariel Gutierrez and Vail Christian’s Jessie Raitt both get to play. Seriously, how do you pick between the two?

I really think that Gutierrez has been in high school for eight years. This happens when you’re covering someone in multiple sports for every year of her career. Apparently, she’s a good soccer player.

In basketball, the numbers are impressive, but more so was her energy. When she goes, the Devils went when it came to running and going to the floor or hitting the glass.

Then there’s Raitt, who likely had the biggest impact of any freshman in any sport this year. All she did was 15 points and five steals per game. (Did we mention she’s a freshman?)

Sure, there’s some polishing to do, but we’ve got time. She’s a freshman. The early leader in the clubhouse for team to watch for next year would be Vail Christian girls basketball. Nobody graduated from a 13-9 team.

Shooting guard

The Freud Five has a tradition of 3-point shooting fools, and we mean this in the nicest way. After all, guys like Eagle Valley’s Sam Lounsberry and Saints like Robby Bowles and Parker Poage have occupied this spot.

Thus, we present Battle Mountain’s Owen Riley. Yes, he’s out of position a bit, but we’ll make it work.

The Big O kept shooting and led the Huskies in scoring and steals and would be a nice complement to the trees we’re going to have inside. Also, thumbs up to Riley for playing both soccer and football in the fall for Battle Mountain.

Small forward

The forward positions are interchangeable on this squad, but Cooper Gould of Vail Christian goes here. Coop was a garbage man and every team needs one. Gould was big in games against Soroco, a must for anyone in Saints’ blue, white and silver.

He was in double-digits in points during the regular season against the archrival Rams and sank them with two free throws in Round 3 at districts with three seconds left in regulation.

Of course, those were 15-footers, and Coop’s got 15-footers down as a golfer.

Power forward(s)

Again, we exert The Freud Prerogative with two at this spot. After all, if we play 7-on-5, we’re winning every game.

The Martins, Taylor and Kylie, go here. I think Kylie, the sophomore, got jobbed on the all-league voting, which generally favors upperclassmen, with an honorable-mention selection. Both Taylor, a senior, and Kylie are all-league in my book.

Taylor led the team in rebounds with Kylie second for the Devils. Kylie and Taylor went 1-2 in the scoring department.

We’re going to miss Taylor, and we’re happy to have Kylie back for two more years.


Shock of ages, we know — it’s Sug. Ethan Ellsworth was a monster for Vail Christian. All he did was average 20.5 points and 11.6 rebounds per game, both single-season records for the Saints.

He was a no-brainer for all-league and the Gore League’s Player of the Year, the first time Vail Christian’s been in a league with such a designation.

After he’s done with Eagle Valley baseball, Sug will leave Vail Christian as one of the school’s most accomplished athletes, three league titles, four state-playoff appearances and a partridge and a pear tree.


I don’t care that he ran afoul of CHSAA with three pairs of technical fouls in five years. It’s outright wrong that he couldn’t finish the season, leading the Vail Christian girls’ team.

The Saints’ Doug Bruce is mentor of young people on and off the court. He’s built the Saints girls’ program and, more importantly, is a fantastic math teacher who is passionate about them succeeding in the classroom and in life.

Coach Bruce can lead my team any day.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, and @cfreud.

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