Vail Valley preps: Devils lose another close one, 52-49
GYPSUM – One would really think that the law of averages would be kicking in by now for Eagle Valley boys basketball. The Devils should eventually win a close game, right?
Nope. Delta nipped Eagle Valley for the second time this year, edging the Devils, 52-49, Friday night in Gypsum.
“The law of averages will never kick up with us because we’re still scared in that moment,” Devils coach Bent McConaghy said. “And teams and coaches are taking advantage of it.”
And before Eagle Valley fans chase after the coach with torches and pitchforks, McConaghy means this well. The heart of this team is getting its first serious dose of varsity play this season and, at times, the talent shows through, while other times, especially in the waning moments of game, that youth shows.
The Devils (2-5 in the 4A Slope and 5-11 overall) battled all the way, tying the game up at 45 with 3:48 left on a Jeremy Sabo 3. From there, Eagle Valley got within 49-47 with 2:26 left and 51-49 with just 10 ticks remaining.
“I blew four timeouts, I think, in that (final) 3:30 to settle us down and set plays,” McConaghy said. “Every play that was called was run. You’ve just got to make the shot, the rebound and run the press the way you’re supposed to, and we just didn’t do that.”
The coach says that it’s just a matter of confidence with the guys to be “the one” to step up during that crucial moment.
In the meantime, sophomore Juan Baca continues to impress. He started the year on the C-team and now has a regular spot in the varsity rotation. Baca had a team high-11 points Friday night.
“He’s made the jump extraordinarily well,” McConaghy said. “He’s going to be an amazing player.”
Lady Devils bow to Delta
When someone says that a game was closer than the score indicated, that’s usually code for baloney, politely-put.
With that in mind, Eagle Valley girls basketball’s 62-30 loss to Delta Friday night was really one of those situations. The Devils played very well for three quarters against one of the best teams in the league – Delta, Glenwood Springs and Moffat County are tied atop the Slope with one loss each.
There was that not-so minor fact that the visiting Panthers outscored the Devils 22-0 in the fourth quarter, something of which we never speak of again.
“I think our frustration got the best of us,” Devils coach Sam Bartlett said. “Delta does have the premiere running team in our league. It showed they had more legs at the end than we did. It felt like we were toe-to-toe with them for most of the game”
Eagle Valley trailed just 28-22 at the half. In the first meeting between the two teams earlier this month, the game was over after 16 minutes. Delta had a 10-0 run in the third quarter, but the Devils did a good job of rebounding and slowing down Delta’s running game to keep the Panthers within their sites at 40-30 at the end of three.
However, Eagle Valley turnovers in the fourth allowed the Panthers to run the floor, and that was the ball game.
“It’s just putting that full game together,” Bartlett said.
Kayla Gagnon had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Devils (2-5, 5-11).
Both Eagle Valley teams are at Palisade today.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or email@example.com.