Vail Valley preps: Coal Ridge sweeps Devils
Vail, CO Colorado
PEACH VALLEY – Between the third and fourth quarters, Coal Ridge boys basketball coach Paul Harvey had a message for his Titans.
“You’re letting ’em hang around!” he shouted. “That’s dangerous.”
Harvey’s players heeded their coach’s advice. While the dangerous Devils hung around, they never could piece together enough of a run to nudge past host Coal Ridge.
Shooting free throws at an 18-of-21 clip in the fourth quarter, the Class 3A Titans held on for a 66-56 win over their Class 4A foes on Tuesday.
“We dominated the boards,” Devils coach Brent McConaghey said. “We dominated in the paint. The problem was that we were in foul trouble and 24-for-29 at the line, which is paretty amazing for a high school game.
“Eagle Valley just has a lot of offensive weapons,” Harvey said. “I knew they could get hot, looking at their shooting percentages from previous games. They’re explosive.”
Perhaps most explosive among the Devils is Jesse Gish, who almost single-handedly kept his team afloat in the fourth quarter by scoring 12 of his team-high 19 points in the final frame. He knocked down a pair of NBA-length 3-pointers, including one that pulled Eagle Valley to within three at 52-49.
While Gish, a senior, did most of his damage from beyond the arc, Coal Ridge’s Darik Brown regularly attacked the basket and was a frequent visitor to the foul line. The junior led all scorers with 23 points, hitting 9 of 10 from the line for the game and connecting at a 7-of-8 clip in the fourth quarter.
“We really preach free throws,” Harvey relayed. “That’s one of our goals, to always get more free-throw attempts than the other team. We just really say, ‘Attack, attack, attack.'”
The Titans (3-1) were also on target from the perimeter, particularly in the first half. Hitting a pair of triples in the first quarter and two more in the second, Coal Ridge went into halftime with a 27-25 lead.
That advantage grew to 39-33 after three quarters, setting the stage for a frenzied fourth quarter in which the teams combined for 50 points.
Brown was one of three Titans to reach double figures in scoring. Nathan Terrin scored 16 and Tyler Guettler had 10.
Brandon Bates pitched in with a clutch seven points, all of which came in the fourth quarter.
Bates hit a corner 3-pointer with 3 minutes, 11 seconds left to give Coal Ridge a 55-49 lead and also connected on 4 of 4 free throws in the final 13.9 seconds to help put away the Devils.
“I think we did good at the free-throw line,” Brown said. “”We did pretty good on defense and just got on a hot streak.”
Cooper Senn finished with nine points for Eagle Valley (3-4). Jeremy Sabo had six points and seven rebounds.
Lady Devils come close
A 63-26 loss to Glenwood Springs in Saturday’s Demon Invitational finale didn’t sit well with Eagle Valley girls basketball coach Sam Bartlett, who lamented his team’s lack of energy and mental focus in the lopsided loss.
On Tuesday, the first-year Devils coach could find no fault in his players’ effort, even if that effort didn’t yield the outcome he wanted. In a showdown of scrappy teams in Peach Valley, Coal Ridge escaped with a 48-43 win over Bartlett’s squad.
“There were just a few mental breakdowns where we gave up some open shots,” Bartlett said. “We had a short bench tonight, so we had a few girls running some extra minutes. It showed. For the most part, we came out and we reacted well to our Saturday game. We came out and played hard the whole game. I’m really proud of how we played tonight.”
It wasn’t enough, though, as Coal Ridge’s Chasity Gonzales played spoiler.
The senior sparked an 8-0 run that spanned the final second of the third quarter and the first 2:37 of the fourth to lift the Titans to 3-1 on the young season.
Gonzales drained a 3-pointer with roughly a second left in the third to pull Coal Ridge to within 35-34 and then put her team ahead for good with a 3-pointer and layup to start the fourth.
Despite twice missing the front ends of one-and-one trips to the foul line in the final two minutes, the Titans held off the Devils (2-5) down the stretch.
Gonzales iced the game by draining a pair of freebies with 2.4 seconds remaining. She finished with a team-best 15 points.
Ciara Chacon, who was celebrating her birthday, finished with 11 points and six rebounds for Coal Ridge. Carly Cloninger chipped in with seven points, Paige Ryan five points and eight assists and Ashlie Bowles four points and 10 rebounds.
It was defense, though, that helped the Titans to victory.
“Definitely our defense,” Gonzales said. “Coach always tells us defense is the key, and that it’ll get us going on the offensive end. It did tonight, for sure.”
Kayla Gagnon led Eagle Valley with 18 points and 11 boards. Amanda Morgan contributed nine points and Nicole Harvey had eight.
Eagle Valley is home Friday for a pair of games with Roaring Fork.
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