Round 1: Devils sweep Huskies
GYPSUM – The first half is done for Eagle Valley boys basketball. Bring on Act II.
The Devils knocked off archrival Battle Mountain, 75-40, Tuesday night. Eagle Valley finished the first half of the 4A Slope with a 5-1 record, nicely poised for runs at a state-playoff spot and a league title.
But as has been the case in this rivalry since the end of the 2006 season, nothing came easy for either team. The Devils were unable to deliver a first-half knockout, leading just 33-19 at the half – the Huskies were trailing only 25-19 after a Chris Duran 3-pointer with 1:28 before intermission.
In the meantime, Eagle Valley’s defensive pressure and speed in transition gave the Huskies difficulty and gave the Devils control of the game at times.
The Devils finally pulled away in the third quarter with a 12-5 run in the first 4:25 of the second half. Eagle Valley’s Tim Wells scored his team’s first five points. Ayren Hart had a driving lay-up along the baseline, followed by a bucket from Jeremy Sabo to make it 45-28.
Up 49-30 at the end of three quarters, Eagle Valley started the fourth with an 11-0 spurt with 3s from Wells and Juan Baca (twice), as well as a nifty lay-up from Jeremy Sabo.
Baca led Eagle Valley with 17 points, while both Jake Engle and Jack Kamby had 10 for Battle Mountain (0-5 in the Slope and 5-11 overall.)
Eagle Valley (11-4) heads to Delta Friday before hosting Palisade in a huge game in Gypsum at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. The Huskies head to Palisade Friday and are back for Delta Saturday. And not that anyone would be looking ahead, but Round 2 of the rivalry is Feb. 10 up in Edwards.
Lady Devils top Huskies
It’s hard to envision Eagle Valley girls basketball as a modern day version of Sister Sledge. Really, Devils basketball coach Sam Bartlett really doesn’t work as any of the four Sledge sisters.
But the Devils staged a revival of the 1970s with a 42-28 victory over Battle Mountain Tuesday night in Gypsum.
“We are family and protect this house were the themes,” Bartlett said. “It feels good. We’ve grown up in the last week. We’ve had to come together under some tough circumstances. Winning cures a lot of problems.”
And the win was Eagle Valley’s first of the season in the 4A Slope, and the Devils (1-5, 4-11 overall) hope that this is the beginning of better times as it starts the second half of league play Friday at Delta before a home game Saturday against Palisade.
Against the Huskies, Eagle Valley raced our to a 19-6 lead at the half. The visiting Huskies did not score a field goal until there were 15 seconds left in the second quarter, and that would come back to haunt Battle Mountain. The Devils’ Madeline Lounsberry scored 9 of those first-half points, contributing to the family theme. (We hear her older brother’s an O.K. player.) Madeline ended the night with 14 points. The Devils’ Mariel Gutierrez had 10 points.
To their credit, the Huskies (0-5, 2-13) kept battling to the end. Battle Mountain was able to close the Devils’ lead to 32-27 with 4:09 left the fourth quarter, but could get no closer.
Since it’s a rivalry game, there couldn’t be an absence of controversy. Lounsberry ran in Battle Mountain’s Shauna Roberts with 4:36 left. Huskies coach Andrea Joyce wanted the charge, but it was called a block instead and Joyce received a technical foul.
Logan Nash led the Huskies with eight points.
“There was something over the goal there, maybe a force field,” Huskies coach Andrea Joyce said of the Battle Mountain’s first-half shooting woes. “We missed too many shots. But they didn’t give up. They did what we asked. We worked on that trap for one day, and Logan, our Honey Badger, and Katia Lopez got some steals off it. We couldn’t make some free throws late. If we make them, maybe, it’s different.”
Battle Mountain is at Palisade Friday.
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