Vail Valley cagers make all-league
EDWARDS – There was a pretty good chance that Battle Mountain boys basketball coach Tom Padilla was doing his best Rodney Dangerfield impression at Wednesday night’s awards banquet.
“No respect, no respect,” Padilla joked.
Despite and impressive turnaround season (from 3-19 to 12-11) and a 7-7 conference mark, Battle Mountain only got one player – Parker Lathrop – on the all-league team.
Robert Weiss and Miguel Copas were honorable-mention selections.
Before the Huskies faithful forming mobs and lighting torches, there are two unofficial rules to making all-league. (We do this with the caveat that these guidelines don’t make it right, but rather as a matter of explanation.)
The first is reputation helps when it comes to getting the nod. Since Battle Mountain went 3-19 in 2008-09, there wasn’t much reputation of which to speak. The other theme is that opposing coaches in the league remember the individuals who torched them and vote for said players. Battle Mountain was a really balanced team in 2009-10, something which translated to success on the court and not all-league voting.
That said, Lathrop is most definitely deserving of the honor. He entered the school years a pretty decent 3-point shooter and ended it as a much-more well-rounded player. Make no mistake, opposing teams had to watch for him on the perimeter, but he also developed an ability to drive to the bucket and usually got the job of defending the other squad’s best player.
This was the result of hard work.
“It helped him tremendously that he had the basketball mentality all through the summer,” Padilla said. “He never stopped playing. He played out of Denver for a lot of the summer. I think that helped him keep in touch with the game.”
Lathrop averaged 13 points per game. The guy getting him the ball often was Weiss, who averaged a little more than five dimes per game. Weiss was a defensive stalwart, could also pop the 3 and kept defenses honest by breaking to the hole.
Copas, better known to the Huskies faithful as Goofy, was probably one of the team’s best all-around players. He was a post presence with 10 points per game and helped clear the glass.
Padilla added that he hoped that Edward Banegas and Cody Hervert would also get postseason honors.
Kenia Olivas made honorable mention for the Battle Mountain girls basketball team.
In just its second year at the 2A level, Vail Christian basketball had plenty of representation in all-league circles.
For the boys, Larry Cavanaugh and Granger Moch made the first team, while Fernando Hernandez was an honorable mention. For the ladies, Dakota Francis, Alexis Ellsworth, Ashlyn Gruber and McKenzie O’Brien were all second-team selections.
Cavanaugh is now all-league in two sports, having gotten the honor in football as well. A senior, he provided serious leadership along with co-captain Kieran Hurtt.
“Larry could do a lot of things right,” Saints coach Sheldon Kuhns said. “He was strong, explosive player in the paint who could also play outside. Larry could beat you a lot of different ways.”
Life got easier for Cavanaugh inside with the emergence of Granger Moch. The junior, or G-ball to his teammates, was a reliable perimeter presence, and as his confidence grew throughout the season, he wasn’t afraid to mix it up under the glass as well.
One of the Saints’ biggest questions going into the season was who was going to replace Will Parker at the point? Hernandez answered that question emphatically. The sophomore played beyond his years.
All of the Lady Saints honored would be returnees next year if there were a next year for the Saints. Girls basketball coach Doug Bruce, nonetheless, is appreciative of his players’ efforts.
“They brought an immense commitment to making the program better,” Bruce said. “A couple of the girls are exceptional volleyball players and actually did double-duty between club volleyball and basketball. They did a heck a heck of a job for us.”
When playing Eagle Valley girls basketball, opponents usually saw double in the Zapata sisters. Nos. 5 and 4 had identical head bands and knee braces.
Actually separated by two years, sophomore Jazmine Zapata was the shooting guard and all-league, while senior Brenda Zapata was at the point and honorable mention.
While Jazmine made the first team, Brenda was probably the heart and soul of the squad. When the senior re-injured her knee in early January, Eagle Valley’s playoff hopes went down too. That said, Jazmine could shoot the 3 about as well as anyone in the league.
For the boys, Zeth Ramsey got the nod for the Devils as an honorable-mention selection.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or email@example.com.