Vail Valley preps wrap for Friday
KREMMLING – Vail Christian girls basketball is 3-0, and the last time the Saints opened 3-0 was, well, never.
Vail Christian dispatched West Grand Friday night in a nonleague game, 48-32, nearly a week after starting the season by beating both 4A Eagle Valley and Battle Mountain.
“I kept saying this to the girls that there were times we didn’t play well and there were some times where we really played well,” Saints coach Doug Bruce said. “That’s going to happen in the early part of the season. But no one is going to beat us by outplaying us. These girls play hard.”
Ashlyn Gruber had a team-high 18 points. Senior Tracey Salgado added 14, while fellow senior Dakota Francis had seven. Bruce also had postgame kudos for Kylie Alexander, who came off the bench with four points, and played a big role in the second half.
Bruce was quick to say that the host Mustangs will be tougher to face in the future, which is important to note because the Saints will play West Grand twice more in the regular season.
The Saints girls host Hayden today at 2:30 p.m.
The Vail Christian boys weren’t left out of the fun. The Saints recorded their first win of the season, downing the Mustangs, 61-59, in the nightcap.
Of particular import for Sheldon Kuhns’ crew is that this was a road win against a league opponent. The gents were a very hard team to beat in Edwards last year, but struggled on the road, especially within the 2A Slope.
“Winning on the road is huge for us,” Kuhns said. “When Teller (Emmer) fouled out in the third (quarter), we did not have a single senior on the court. That was big for us tonight and down the road.”
In a see-saw game – the Saints held a five-point advantage in the first half – Vail Christian knocked down 9-of-13 free throws in the fourth quarter. Point guard Fernando Hernandez led the way 18 points. Zach Linder had 16 and Robby Bowles 12. Austin Ellsworth and Gunnar Wilson both saw their first serious varsity playing time.
The Vail Christian boys (1-2) are next in action Thursday at 5:30 with a home game against North Park.
Devils split against Rams
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Welcome to .500.
The Eagle Valley girls basketball team started its annual swing through Glewnood with a 35-25 win against Roaring Fork Friday night, evening the Devils’ record at 2-2.
Cori Cramer led Eagle Valley with 12 points, while Kayla Gagnon had a double-double with 11 points and rebounds. Bri Roth helped out with eight points and seven boards.
“It’s definitely important to start with a win here,” Eagle Valley coach Sam Bartlett said. “It will help us with confidence because the next two teams we’re going to face are going to be tougher.”
That would be Faith Christian today at 9 a.m. and Glenwood Springs at 4 p.m. Bartlett and the Devils caught a bit of those two teams playing each other Friday night to scout the Eagles and Demons.
The Eagle Valley boys had a bit rougher go of it against Roaring Fork, bowing to the Rams, 50-43.
Eagle Valley coach Brent McConaghey said the deciding factors in the game were foul trouble (the Rams sank 10 free throws in the fourth quarter), turnovers and difficulties on defense.
“We were in foul trouble the whole game,” the coach said. “We have to stop reaching and move our feet and make sure we’re rotating. We just didn’t rotate and the back-side shot was open all night.”
The Eagle Valley boys (3-1) have no time to dwell on the loss because they also face Faith Christian at 10:30 a.m. and Glenwood at 5:30 p.m.
Huskies fall against North Park
IDAHO SPRINGS – A slow start and some injuries were too much for Battle Mountain boys basketball to overcome Friday night as the Huskies fell to Middle Park, 52-47, in the opener of this weekend’s tournament in Clear Creek County.
It was the first loss of the season for Battle Mountain (4-1).
“We showed some character tonight,” Huskies coach Tom Padilla said. “We scored just one point in the first quarter, and battled back to take a lead in the third. We just had a few turnovers which killed us.”
Joe LyBarger led Battle Mountain with 12 points.
The Huskies play Clear Creek tonight at 5:30.
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