Vail Valley preps: Huskies fall in first round
MONTROSE – Seasons rarely end well – even good ones.
Battle Mountain boys basketball’s year came to an end in unexpected place Tuesday night – in the state playoffs. The Huskies fell at Montrose, 60-52, in Round 1.
The Huskies led the host Indians, 29-24, at the half, only to be undone by 24-5 third quarter.
“The third quarter, we stopped executing as a team,” Huskies coach Tom Padilla said. “We’ve had a problem with the third quarter most of the year. I thought we had taken care of it, but it came back to haunt us. Five points in eight minutes doesn’t cut it.”
Miguel Copas led Battle Mountain with 19 points, while Parker Lathrop and Robert Weiss each had eight. All three are seniors and played their final game for the Huskies, as did Edward Banegas, Parke Robbins, Shawn Martinez and Pancho Meneses.
“They played hard. We didn’t want to end it here,” Padilla sad. “The seniors played especially hard. They’ve laid a foundation for the younger kids. We expect to go back to the tournament and win some games.”
While the ending hurt, 2009-10 was a pleasant surprise of a season. Not much was expected from the Huskies who went 3-19 last year, Battle Mountain equaled its win total of the previous year in the season-opening tournament in Lake County.
What was more impressive was the team reached the .500 mark in the 4A Slope at 7-7. And that was after a 1-5 start in league play.
The Huskies finished the regular season by winning seven of their last 10, securing the program’s first state berth since 2006. Included in that run was a sweep of archrival Eagle Valley. In front of packed house in Gypsum, Battle Mountain overcame a 22-4 first-quarter deficit to win 62-57. The Huskies completed their first sweep since 2006 with a win in their new home in Edwards earlier this month.
And while no Battle Mountain coach – in any sport – will downplay wins over Eagle Valley, the biggest thrill was making the state tournament.
“To be truthful and honest, one of the biggest memories is making the state tournament,” Padilla said. “We made that goal at the beginning of then season. Hopefully, we’ll learn from the experience and go back next year and get a couple of wins.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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