Vail Valley preps: Perspective, playoffs, the rivalry and Robby |

Vail Valley preps: Perspective, playoffs, the rivalry and Robby

We start this week’s installment of the preps with the reminder that this is only high school sports.

Eagle Valley basketball against Rifle Tuesday was postponed because Bears junior Austin Booth died Monday of pneumonia, brought on by the flu. He was all of 17.

Moms and dads, hug your kids, even though their behavior at this strange age may bewilder you. Kids, hug your folks, although they may not seem to get it right now. If you have brothers and sisters and other relatives, hug them too. Life is precious and, sometimes, inexplicably short. Trust me here.

On lighter topics:

• Battle Mountain hockey was meant to play Dakota Ridge Wednesday night, but that was snowed out. Everyone will try it again on Feb. 9 at 8 p.m. In the meantime, the Huskies are home Friday night against Columbine and Saturday night against Steamboat Springs, which is Senior Night. Both games are at 5.

The season has not gone according to plan so far. I respond with two things. First, this is a young team, and young teams under coach Gary Defina have tended to have a pretty good learning curve in years past. Case in point, that was a good win over Air Academy Friday. The veterans on the team, who lost 6-0 to the Kadets last year, know that. The Huskies also hung with Regis (8-1) for two periods Saturday, so it’s coming along.

Second, gents, please look at the NFL playoffs. We’ve got two No. 6 seeds playing in the conference championship game. As Eagle Valley’s John Ramunno was saying while scoring the school’s wrestling meet about 10 days ago, “You just have to get in (the playoffs).” After that, who knows as we’ve seen with the New York Jets and Green Bay Packers. Huskies, make the top eight of the Foothills Conference and just go from there.

• Eagle Valley boys basketball, nice job against Moffat. Brent McConaghy almost sounded happy after that game on the phone. (We kid because we care, Coach.) The hill gets pretty steep this week with a roadie at Glenwood tonight. This would be your Kevin Flohr alert. (Yes, another Flohr.)

• Speaking of which, the same thing applies to the Eagle Valley girls basketball tonight, but substitute Kenzie Kuhn for Flohr.

• Battle Mountain basketball, please read the above two paragraphs and attempt to do the same on Friday at home.

• Looking ahead to Tuesday night when the Huskies and Devils gather in Gypsum – both games should be tight. We’ll give a slight edge to the Devils in the girls game with the warning that if the Huskies are going to break into the win column in league, it’s going to be against Eagle Valley. (We base this on the endless tracking of common opponents that preoccupies all teams involved in this rivalry and their fans,) The boys’ game is a coin flip. Whoever’s hot outside wins there.

• That would be Tim Wells and Sam Lounsberry for Eagle Valley and Chris Duran and Eric Gurule for Battle Mountain. One wild card would be the Huskies’ Joe LyBarger. I saw this with praise, but young Joe is a pain in the rear end to play against. Another wild card is which post players are going to be a factor.

• Has Vail Christian boys basketball stopped running up and down the court yet? Wow, 85 points against Soroco. A word or two on Robby Bowles. The best indicator of whether his 3 is going in is to watch the coach’s son, Ethan Kuhns. He will jump out of his seat as the shot is launched and be back in his seat before it goes in.

Bowles is a sophomore, which makes all involved, including Ethan’s dad, pretty excited. Robby, your task is to continue improving from your current status of “Omigosh, he’s just a sophomore.” That’s rebounding. That’s passing when teams key on you. That’s leadership. Go forward, young man.

• Trivia for the Vail Christian Ethans – Kuhns and Ellsworth – Who was on deck when the Giants’ Bobby Thomson hit the “Shot Heard around the World?” Again, Ethans from Vail Christian only.

• The Vail Christian ladies will be joining the gents in Rangely tonight. (I actually like Utah a lot, but it’s southwestern Utah and Sand Hollow Resort’s golf course.) Anyway, break the press and then start swinging that ball around. Let’s get Ashlyn Gruber and Alexis Ellsworth and company going.

• In wrestling, we give a shoutout to Battle Mountain’s Mario Rodriguez for winning 140 pounds at Denver South last weekend. We also salute the Devils who were fifth out of 21 teams at Evergreen.

• And don’t worry, skiers. We’re catching up on you gals and guys. We’ll get you in the paper, fret not. In the meantime, the Huskies alpine boys and VMS Nordic girls remain very fast.

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

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