Pine Creek’s 3-ball attack overwhelms Huskies
EDWARDS — Got 3s?
Pine Creek certainly did in an 82-55 win over Battle Mountain boys basketball on Tuesday night. To be precise, The Eagles knocked down 17 shots from beyond the arc, including a stunning third-quarter display by Quinten Gutierrez, who paced Pine Creek with 25 points.
“We’re one of the smaller 5A schools in the state,” Eagles coach Joe Rausch said. “We’re not blessed with a ton of athleticism or height. Our equalizer has to be that 3-point line. The kids, if they do the work, have the green light.”
From way downtown
The Eagles very definitely had the green light. In building a 35-20 halftime lead, Pine Creek notched nine 3s, as opposed to only two traditional field goals and four free throws.
Battle Mountain knew it was coming. Pine Creek was 15-for-33 in its previous game in an 80-78 overtime win against Monarch.
“We didn’t communicate nearly well enough,” Huskies coach Philip Tronsrue said. “We didn’t adjust the top (of the perimeter) well enough, to make sure we had the top and the corners. They ball-reversed well and found the open shooters and made shots. (Gutierrez) had some great range.”
Gutierrez’s pyrotechnics did in the Huskies during the third quarter with five treys, the last of which came from NBA range at the volleyball court’s attack line.
Once Gutierrez was done, the Eagles led 55-29 with 1:43 left in the third. From there, Pine Creek had pulled Battle Mountain’s defense out enough that driving lanes were plentiful in the fourth quarter.
So far, Pine Creek is 2-for-2 this season with the bombs-away strategy.
“I’m not sure we know where we’re at yet,” Rausch said. “We’ve had two games shooting the ball real well. I hope that’s who we are. We shoot it pretty well in practice. Once we get into some of the Denver schools, once the defense tightens, and we get those bigger, larger athletes, will we still make them? I don’t know.”
Work in progress
Meanwhile, the Huskies (3-3) still appear to be a work in progress. Devin Huffman continues to be a force in the paint with 20 points. Robert Redinger delivered a workman-like 13 points.
Not only did Battle Mountain miss a lot of chippies against the Eagles, as it’s been since the end of the Vail Christian tournament two weekends ago, the key is finding some balance between inside and outside.
In truth, Tronsrue thinks the Huskies have the potential to play from downtown like Pine Creek to avoid the expected double- or triple-down on Huffman come league play.
“My charge to the guards is that we have three weeks now, and let’s find where we were,” the coach said. “We were shooting the ball so much better during the summertime. In honesty, we just need to match them. We’ve had some good 3-point games and we’ve had some games when we’ve shot the ball poorly.”
Pine Creek faces Central on Saturday at the Pueblo East Coaches Classic while the Huskies host Evergreen, also on Saturday, at 3:30 p.m.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @cfreud.