Saturday’s preps wrap: Huskies basketball and hockey, Saints hoops and Alpine
Are we having fun yet?
A 49-17 win over Summit is always good for Battle Mountain.
No, that’s not a football score — though Huskies basketball coach Jm Schuppler would take it. Battle Mountain girls basketball dumped the visiting Tigers by that count on Saturday afternoon in Edwards to move to 3-1 overall and 2-0 within the 4A Slope.
Thus, it starts to get interesting for the ladies. In this COVID world, believe it or not, the Huskies having played four games are almost through one-third of the way through the regular season. Although it’s hard to come away with a picture of the 4A Slope after roughly one week of league play, it seems the Huskies are doing what they should against teams that they probably should beat — Eagle Valley and Summit.
The Huskies are at Palisade on Tuesday and host Steamboat Springs on Saturday, so the road gets tougher.
In the meantime, this is usually where we talk about a Caballero. Senior Gabby Caballero is a very good basketball player and she led the Huskies with 20 points on Saturday. But give it up for Daniel Caballero as well.
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Of course, Daniel was not stranger to the hardwood during his high school days and is now an assistant coach for head man Jim Schuppler. Caballero the coach is doing a tremendous job of finding the tape/internet stream of Battle Mountain’s oppenents so the Huskies can game plan for their foes.
“There are more games broadcast than ever,” Schuppler said. “Daniel Caballero has been awesome helping me with that game-planning with short turnarounds.”
And it’s those behind-the-scenes things that makes things hum smoothly on the court. Alden Pennington finished with 12 points and Gianna Carroll 10, which means the team’s three senior captains were all in double-digits. That makes coach Schuppler almost as happy as when Brett Favre’s name is mentioned.
On a serious note, yes, the Huskies are aiming for a Slope title and very much want to host a state-playoff game. There is also an ulterior motive to winning.
“It’s a condensed season and we’ve got a tight-knit bunch of girls,” Schuppler said. “We want to grow them together and keep them together. That is what we are playing for in the end. We want to stay together as long as we can as a team.”
Meanwhile, the Battle Mountain boys basketball team fell to 0-4 with a 60-34 loss to Summit on Saturday.
The Huskies will try to right the ship at Palisade on Tuesday.
Parliament leads Huskies hockey
High school hockey doesn’t do the postgame three stars like the NHL. If it did so, your No. 1 star without question for Battle Mountain’s 6-2 win Friday night over Summit at Dobson would be Kyle Parliament.
Score four goals in a game and you definitely get your name in the paper.
Dillon Flaagan had the other two for Battle Mountain (2-0). The Huskies were scheduled to play the first of two against Glenwood Springs late Saturday night. Saturday’s game was at Dobson and the Battle Mountain heads west on Friday.
Huskies skiing looks crisp at Keystone
Battle Mountain Alpine took to Keystone for a giant slalom and smashed all comers.
OK, before anyone throws a parade, there were only two other teams there Friday — Steamboat Springs and Summit — but those are always good teams to beat. The Huskies guys (170 points) took care of Steamboat and Summit (tied at 166). The Battle Mountain ladies (173) were too much for the Sailors (168) and the Tigers (163).
The Huskies’ Will Bettenhausen won the boys’ race, while Robin Pavelich was tops for the girls in second place.
Given COVID gathering restrictions, it’s important to remember that Battle Mountain has only seen a bit of the state — Eagle Valley and Vail Mountain last week; Steamboat and Summit this week. Conspicuous by their absence, at least at meets which Battle Mountain has attended, are the Aspen Skiers.
There’s a reason Aspen’s mascot is the Skiers. They are force in Alpine and Nordic and always in the state-title picture, so we still don’t know quite yet where the Huskies are in the hunt for the crown.
In the meantime, the kids are having fun with the new format of smaller meets. To limit the contact among different squads, a school’s racers participate in consecutive order instead of having of having a team’s athletes scattered all over the start sheet. So the Huskies are watching their teammates ski and enjoying it.
“Because of COVID, it’s a little smaller field and the schools are in pods so it limits the contact with other teams and communities,” Huskies coach Tim Bettenhausen said. “And you’re skiing with your buddies right in a row. It’s fun.”
Battle Mountain is at Beaver Creek next week.
Saints sweep Hayden
It was not a bad week for Vail Christian boys basketball.
The Saints entered the last seven days with an 0-2 record and a temporarily dysfunctional offense. Vail Christian started the week with a 63-35 rout of Rangely on Tuesday and followed that up with 53-34 thumping of Hayden on the road on a snowy Friday night.
It looks like the offense is finding its groove. Vinny Nowicki popped two 3s early and it was contagious.
“Come on, all of a sudden, we couldn’t miss,” Saints coach Sheldon Kuhns said. “We worked a lot on it in practice. Once the lid came off, well, when it rains it pours.”
The “newfound” — it was coming along all the time — offense will be the story because its brief disappearance was so weird given the program’s history of having a slick attack. Offense is also glamorous.
The quiet theme of Week 2 of Saints basketball was a more traditional plot line — defense. The early-season drama for Vail Christian basketball is usually defense and rebounding (or a lack thereof). Even the 2013 and 2014 teams, the two squads that went to state, struggled on the defensive end at points.
These Saints played defense this week, allowing 69 points in two games. That stat of the week is Vail Christian’s defense allowed 34.5 points per game.
If a team can hold another to around 40 points per game, that team’s going to be competitive night-in, night-out. If the Saints can play that kind of defense with an offense that is coming into form, then Vail Christian could have something.
Nowicki led the Saints with 13 points, which is all well and good. He also drew Hayden’s Liam Frentress on defense and held him to nine points, which is even more important.
Leo Rothenberg chipped in 11. Those were the only two in double-digits, but the Saints got contributions up and down the bench.
The Saints led, 44-14 — hello, defense — after three before calling off the dogs.
Speaking of defense, Vail Christian girls basketball knocked off Hayden, 37-34, in the first game of the evening Friday.
The ladies avenged their 53-47 nonconference loss to the Tigers in Edwards last week with the victory.
Now, it’s time for a game of “compare and contrast.” In the nonconference 6-point loss last week, the Saints were 3-for-17 from the free-throw line. Friday night, the ladies were 12-for 17. That just might account for a 9-point swing between the two games.
“It was a good team effort all the way,” Saints coach Tim Pierson said. “We played good defense. (Hayden) changed to a zone and our girls adjusted really well.”
Grace McCurdy finished with a team-high 19 points, while Zoey Barela had 15.
Both Vail Christian teams were scheduled to host Belleview Christian on Saturday, but the Bruins postponed because they were worried about the weather forecast.
The Saints boys are at Vail Mountain on Tuesday and then both Vail Christian teams are home on Friday for Soroco.