Vail Valley preps: Huskies down Pirates, 63-47 |

Vail Valley preps: Huskies down Pirates, 63-47

EDWARDS – It’s better to head into the holiday break with a 5-3 record than a 4-4 one, especially when you’ve lost three in a row.

Thus, all involved with Battle Mountain boys basketball left the gym and headed out into the snowy parking lot with a good feeling after Saturday’s 63-47 win against Monte Vista in the Huskies’ home opener.

“It feels good, especially having lost our last three games in a row,” said junior Eric Gurule, who had 15 points for Battle Mountain. “That’s going to keep our confidence up going into break. That was a pretty good win.”

After a 4-0 start, Battle Mountain had lost close games to Middle Park (52-47), Clear Creek (47-41) and Basalt (44-42).

“We were starting to lose confidence,” Huskies coach Tom Padilla said. “The kids were wondering, ‘Where are we at? Where are we going?'”

Padilla said the team got together Friday and talked it through. But nothing rights the ship – especially with a young team and the Huskies are that – like a win, and Battle Mountain did it with defense.

Sophomore Joe LyBarger led the up-tempo effort with six steals. One of those steals in the second quarter sparked a 16-3 run to end the half. There were two notable aspects to this decisive sequence.

First, the Huskies got contributions from multiple sources. Irving Ruacho scored five points in the final 3:31, while Jake Engle had four of his seven points. Gurule slashed to the hole, as well.

What also bodes well is that center Cody Hervert was struggling. During this run and for a good portion of three quarters, the senior got good looks at the basket but couldn’t get his shots to fall.

“Even though he struggled, we told the kids during a timeout, ‘We have the mismatch (in the paint). We’re still going to go down to him,”‘ Padilla said.

That strategy paid off handsomely for the Huskies. Hervert got it going in the fourth quarter and buried the visiting Pirates, with 18 of his points coming in the final eight minutes.

Battle Mountain opens 2011 with its first league game at Delta on Jan. 6.

Girls fall

Monte Vista had its way against the Battle Mountain girls basketball team Saturday, defeating the Huskies, 77-24.

Turnovers against the Pirates’ press put the Huskies down early, and Monte Vista put the game out of reach with lopsided second and third quarters.

Battle Mountain is 1-7 going into the break, but all is not dire. Senior Kenia Olivas should be back from a concussion.

“They never stopped fighting all the way up to the fourth quarter,” Huskies coach Andrew Schmid said. “The game got out of hand a little bit in the first half, but they kept at it. They’re always wanting to get better. We’re still 0-0 in conference. These are still warm-up games for when we play Delta coming back from the break.”

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

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