Vail Valley preps: About Tim, Tom, Sam, Jimmy, Joes and Jack
The Battle Mountain-Eagle Valley boys basketball game Tuesday was so exciting, I managed to come up with a Devil named Todd Wells. My apologies, Tim. Everybody, No. 10, Tim Wells.
(Note to self: As a Giants fan, you should be able to remember this of all names. You spent all of 2010, screaming “Timmy!” at the television. And this serves as an obligatory reminder to all our readers that the 2010 World Series champions are indeed the San Francisco Giants.)
And now this week’s shopping list, including thoughts on guys like Brent Padilla and Tom McConaghy:
• Battle Mountain did not complete a 3-pointer until the second half? (Irving Ruacho did the honors to start the third quarter.) When was the last time Huskies fans saw that? If there has been one constant in program that has not had many constants, it’s the 3-ball. Speaking of which, good to see Huskies alum Parker Lathrop in the crowd Tuesday. He liked downtown.
• Stock rising: Eagle Valley’s Sam Lounsberry. We say this about a lot of athletes a lot of the time, “He’s just a sophomore.” We knew he could shoot last year. This year, he’s grown and can penetrate into the paint. Keep an eye on this.
• Welcome back Zeth Ramsey. The senior understandably was a bit rusty in his first athletic action since the Huskies-Devils football game on Nov. 5. That’s fine. He’ll shake it off, and be a factor at 6-foot-6 for the second half of the league slate.
• Great team effort by Battle Mountain Tuesday. Jimmy O’Rourke – he’s just a sophomore – has had some moments this year when he looked a little lost on the floor at the varsity level. Not on Tuesday night. Nice job, kid.
Along those lines, give it up for Cody Hervert, who had a pretty good game Tuesday night, to remind me of Joe Webb’s contributions. Big rebounds from No. 24.
• Huskies guard Joe LyBarger … I’ve talked about his defense a lot. He’s also growing with his maturity.
• Devils coach Brent McConaghy and Huskies coach Tom Padilla are completely different, but really could be clones of each other when it comes to their philosophy. Talking to them on the phone from the road or in person, they seem to mirror each other in preaching defense. Seriously, I could use a McConaghy quote in Battle Mountain story in place of what Padilla would say, and no one would know the difference.
• I’m of two minds when it comes to McConaghy’s system of essentially 5-for-5 substitutions. It can disrupt the rhythm of play. On the other hand, especially with Ramsey out for the beginning of the season, as well as needing some time to get back into the flow, there is not a “go-to” guy, read post player, on Eagle Valley’s roster. The substitution pattern fits the coach’s up-tempo defensive style and gets a relatively young team spread-out playing time.
What’s interesting here is that I saw another coach – David Wells of Division III Claremont-Mudd-Scripps – do this in my days as a cub reporter in the early-90s, and it worked. You can knock of some bigger teams this way.
• Claremont still plays in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC), and another year, I saw a school called Occidental (Oxy, to most) go 1-6 in the first go-round of league play. They lost those six games in excruciating fashion. Said Tigers went 6-1 in the second half for a .500 finish and then destroyed the SCIAC the next year. Interpret all this as you wish, Eagle Valley.
• Fun week in the Battle Mountain Male Senior Athlete chase. Jack Sunderland and Hervert started the year pretty much tied. Sunderland delivered a clutch performance Saturday against Steamboat hockey (three third-period assists), and then Hervert goes off for 24 against Eagle Valley in basketball. Impressive by both.
• Geez, I leave Vail Christian boys basketball alone for one night and the Saints score 95? Thanks a lot, guys.
• One note here: Yes, Vail, Christian-Vail Mountain basketball was lopsided, and understandably so, given that this is VMS’s first varsity season. This, too, shall pass. Vail Christian and coaches Sheldon Kuhns, Patrick Beaudine and now Doug Bruce have all gone through this in building the Saints basketball program in the last 10 years. (Insert Cathy Alexander for volleyball.) It is not fun at the time, but when the wins do come, they are special and you never forget them. (Just ask any of the aforementioned coaches.) VMS basketball will be just fine.
• One thing I’m worried about with the Saints, I haven’t seen the girls basketball team win this year. Vail Christian has West Grand tonight and Plateau Valley Saturday. I am going to start taking this personally, ladies. Either that or Bruce will be chasing me out of the building this week.
• Granger Moch, welcome back.
• Skiing. First of all, people, we’ve got a bit of coverage in today’s paper, so chill. Second, Battle Mountain is intriguing. Yes, the Huskies boys are good at alpine, but the Nordic side could have them sniffing a state title. Keep it up, Christian Shanley, Aleksei Horn and Parker McDonald, who were 4-9-11 last week in Summit. Summit Nordic beat the Huskies only 174-163 in head-to-head competition last week. Though the Tigers and Huskies haven’t met yet on the alpine side this season, 11 points is a very manageable margin. Stay tuned.
• Best honorary cheerleaders: The Eagle Valley wrestling team. Nice job, fellas.
• And look out now … Battle Mountain hockey 7, Aspen 3. That would be 4-4 in the Foothills for the Huskies. I think someone wrote a week or two ago in this space that young Huskies teams tend to come along as the season develops. Of course, that was the same moron who has a Todd Wells playing for Eagle Valley.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.