Vail Christian girls basketball starts 2-0 |

Vail Christian girls basketball starts 2-0

OK, I was away from the world of preps sports for one week, and everyone has a fit.

Relax, peeps, we’re back with the highlights of early-winter sports.

• Who dey?: While there are plenty of good early storylines, we’ve got to start with Vail Christian girls basketball with a 2-0 start at a tourney in Aspen, beating none other than Eagle Valley and Battle Mountain. (Why two schools from Edwards and one from Gypsum go to Aspen to play is beyond me, but …)

Major props to the Saints for that. The math involving these matchups is pretty stunning. Vail Christian, which plays as a 2A school in the regular season, has a student body of about 75 and knocked off the two local 4As, who number in the 700s.

That said, we bring in a math teacher, who also happens to be the Saints girls hoops coach, Doug Bruce, for some perspective. While the wins were impressive, there’s a lot of basketball to go.

“We tried to go back to the gym on Monday and go back to work. We’ve got some tough games coming up this weekend. If you look down our schedule, we’ve got tough teams every weekend. We’re really grateful for the start we had. The girls played really well, but there are a lot of things we want to get better at,” Bruce said.

Among those listed by Bruce were rebounding, free-throw shooting and the press-break. The Saints are at West Grand tonight, and then the ladies host Hayden on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.

• As decided by a coin flip, witnessed by our copy desk, for impartiality, we move to Eagle Valley boys basketball. The Devils won three games all of last season, and they’re 3-0 to start 2010-11, under new coach Brent McConaghey.

The Devils downed Vail Christian and Aspen at the latter’s tournament last weekend and then topped Summit County up at Farmer’s Korner.

The themes for Devils hoops are defense and team play, as in McConaghey’s gone to everyone on the bench so far in the early part of the season.

“They have realized their mental awareness of what they can do,” the coach said. “What they can do is starting to show itself. They believe they are a pretty solid team. As long as they grow defensively, in the end, they’re going to be pretty darn good.”

The Devils make their annual December stop in Glenwood Springs for a tournament this weekend. Eagle Valley faces Roaring Fork today and Faith Christian and the host Demons on Saturday.

• In a bit of coaching alumni news, former Battle Mountain coach Phil Tronsrue has taken over in Summit County. We wish the coach well in everything except when his Tigers host Battle Mountain on Jan. 11.

• Speaking of the Huskies, they may have only one starter, Cody Hervert, back from last year’s state-playoff team, but they’ve continued their winning ways.

Battle Mountain is 4-0 after wins against Crested Butte, Lake County, Gilpin County and Coal Ridge.

What’s really fun here is that Battle Mountain coach Tom Padilla sounds just like his counterpart in Gypsum.

“Our group this winter is all about defense.” Padilla said. “Last year, we struggled defensively. Offensively, we were very skilled. This, year, the guys have bought into defense. We’re playing pressure man-to-man on the whole court.”

• Moving to wrestling, Eagle Valley started the season with dual wins against Glenwood Springs and Battle Mountain, but the highlight so far was finishing third at last weekend’s Middle Park tourney.

“The sophomore class had a rough year last year, but we always knew that they’d come through,” Devils coach Ron Beard said.

Six Eagle Valley sophs placed at Middle Park – Taylor Wheeler (fifth, 130 pounds), Cole Nielsen (fourth, 145), Andrew Vigil (second, 152) Alex Montes (fourth, also at 152), Andy Armstrong (fourth, 189) and Joey Sanchez (third, 215).

And, of course, we do not forget Matt Kottenstette. The senior rolled the 160-pound field with four pins.

Eagle Valley wrestling heads to Buena Vista for another heavy Saturday of competition in a dual meet.

• Battle Mountain wrestling coach Desi Quintana likens his charges to dynamite.

“We’re small, but we pack a punch,” the coach said.

The Huskies, who have been short for numbers in recent years, nonetheless have a 3-1 record in duals so far including a 42-36 win Thursday night at Summit County.

Wyatt Chism got a pin at 119, as did Manny Madril at 130. Robert Martinez dusted his opponent at 135, while David Gutierrez got six points at 189. Marcus Medina, Mario Rodriguez and Heivan Garcia all picked up forfeit wins.

Battle Mountain’s only two losses came to quality opponents. At 125, Rossa Gurule fell to Dustin Emmerson, a returning state qualifier. Ernesto Camunez lost to Middle Park’s Stetson Fowler at 152. Fowler won the Middle Park Tournament last weekend.

The Huskies head west today for duals against Glenwood Springs and Steamboat Springs in Glenwood.

• Vail Christian boys basketball ratcheted up the strength of its schedule. Though it hurt the Saints in wins and losses – Vail Christian started 0-2 – they gained experience by playing Eagle Valley and Meeker.

“We want to measure ourselves against the best, and Eagle Valley won the tournament,” Saints coach Sheldon Kuhns said. “It was also good for us to get into the speed of the game against good opponents. We’re going to play fast and up-tempo and we also need to see teams with size and depth.”

The Saints hung with Eagle Valley, though the Devils won in the end. Vail Christian did the same with Meeker for three quarters before the Saints ran out of gas.

The Vail Christian boys are at West Grand tonight.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or

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