Shocker: Summit County upsets Eagle Valley
GYPSUM — Trick or treat.
Yes, wrong holiday.
It was all treats, presumably bon-bons and flowers for Eagle Valley’s girls as they won handily against Summit County on Tuesday night. But the shocker was in the nightcap as the Devils boys were upset by Summit County, 63-59.
That sends the Western Slope into a free-for-all with the Devils, Glenwood Springs, Rifle and Steamboat Springs all tied atop the league with four losses.
And they’re tied
Before anyone starts to try to figure out a four-way tie-breaking scenario, Eagle Valley (14-8 overall, 7-4 in the Slope and No. 25 in the rating-percentage index) still has one game left in the regular season.
Naturally, it comes down to Battle Mountain on Thursday in Edwards.
It just has to be that way.
“Thursday night, is it appropriate that it’s Battle Mountain? Of course, it is,” Devils coach Chris Walls said. “I think it sums up all of our games that we’ve played. It’s a matter of whether we want to give it away like we did tonight or do we want to revert back to what was working for us early — putting it away and finishing it.”
Eagle Valley led most of the way against the Tigers and was up, 57-53 after a big 3 from Arturo Loera with 2:40 left. A layup by Dimitri Preciado with 1:39 on the clock pulled the Tigers within 57-56.
The Devils got one free throw each from Loera and Sam Erickson to nudge the lead to 59-56. (Not sinking more freebies as well as turnovers with a lead were the cause of Eagle Valley’s downfall.)
But Jesus Moya struck from downtown to tie it at 59 with 34 ticks to go. Preciado got the steal on Eagle Valley’s next possession and was fouled. Preciado sank two with 15 seconds left and added two more insurance freebies with 3.4 seconds left.
While Jimmy Murphy is out for the season with a left-knee injury, Walls is refusing to use that excuse.
“Bottom line was that we had a fairly comfortable lead and got away from what was being successful and that’s what cost us the game,” Walls said. “How do we correct that? We get more disciplined.”
Back on track
The Eagle Valley girls jumped all over Summit as they should have. The Devils led 14-2 after one and 27-6 at the half.
Kylie Martin was hitting from inside and outside — two 3s in the first half — on her way to 26 points. Cassie Jaramillo (12 points) and Regan Bossow also struck early and often, and the Devils breezed.
“Our effort against Palisade (on Thursday) was solid,” Devils coach Sam Bartlett said. “We had them on the ropes down there. It’s always a tough place to play. We’re starting to see glimmer of who we can be.”
In the omnipresent RPI watch, the Devils (13-9, 6-5) were ranked 35th. While Eagle Valley did everything it was meant to do against the Tigers, the team may drop a bit in the rankings because Summit is 4-18, and your opponents’ winning percentage makes up 50 percent of RPI. Having to play Summit and Steamboat Springs (0-21) twice is really hurting the team’s ranking.
While the Devils can’t control how other teams are playing, they do have some unfinished business on Thursday in Edwards. Battle Mountain beat Eagle Valley, 39-36, in Round 1 of the rivalry last month.
“We’re always motivated for Battle Mountain,” Bartlett said. “The records don’t matter. It’s a fun community game. We’ll always be up for that one because they always give us a good battle. They got us last time. We had our conversation. We know what’s at stake.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.