Vail Valley preps wrap for Saturday
VAIL – The calendar says it’s January, but it’s felt more like February playoff hockey for Battle Mountain recently.
The Huskies snagged a huge 1-0 win against Lewis-Palmer Saturday night at Dobson Arena, earning three points on the weekend after 1-1 tie with Palmer Friday night.
“We just went through the meat of our schedule,” Battle Mountain coach Gary Defina said. “We’re a clamp-down defensive team with good goaltending. We’ve got to keep it tight. We can’t give up goals like we did against Air Academy. The checking was good. We had good penalty killing, good discipline and good coverage.”
The coach mentioned it already, but Cujo, aka Curtis Hart, stood on his head in net earning the shutout and the first star of the game. The second star was Connor Tedstrom who ripped one from the point on a second-period power play for the only marker of the game. The assists went to Brian Ratkowski and Chris Davis.
Alex Woods, who moved up to the team’s first line, was the third star of the game.
Battle Mountain (4-2-1 in the Peak Conference and 7-4-1 overall) is at Liberty Friday and Coronado Saturday.
Vail Christian girls 61, DeBeque 21
EDWARDS – Make way for McKenzie.
Sophomore McKenzie O’Brien dropped 19 points on DeBeque as the Vail Christian girls basketball team defeated the Dragons, 61-21, Saturday in Edwards.
“She’s played really well for us in the last two-and-a-half weeks,” Vail Christian coach Doug Bruce said.
One could say the same thing about the team. Very quietly, Vail Christian (6-7 overall and 2-4 in the 2A Slope) has been putting together some good performances. Bruce was especially pleased with the way his team played well on back-to-back days this weekend.
“We actually played pretty well (Friday) night (in a loss to Hayden). It was close, but it got away a little bit in the second half,” Bruce said. “I was really pleased with the way the girls responded to the short turnaround today and started the game with a fast tempo.”
Joining O’Brien in double figures were Ashlyn Gruber (16) and Alexis Ellsworth (11). Dakota Francis scored seven points and freshman Kelly Bowman got her first varsity bucket.
“We are seeing a lot of good things happen,” Bruce said. “I think we are going in the right direction.”
Vail Christian boys 73, DeBeque 61
EDWARDS – Now that looked like a Vail Christian-DeBeque game.
Vail Christian found itself with six team fouls early in the first quarter. The boys were definitely a little too pumped up for the Dragons, but once they settled down, all ended well with a 73-61 victory over their archrivals.
“We just had to take a breath,” Vail Christian coach Sheldon Kuhns said. “We played really well (Friday night) and the guys were amped up and flying around. Once we settled down, we started to make some shots and play defense.”
Speaking of the latter, freshman Nigel Johnson got postgame props from the coach for his play on defense, spelling Larry Cavanaugh. On the offensive side of the ball, Granger Moch lit it up with 24 points, including nine in the second quarter, which helped erase an early 13-point deficit.
Fernando Hernandez continued his solid play at the point with 12 points. And the youth continued to deliver as freshman Zach Linder chipped in 12 as well. Senior Kieran Hurtt has a season-high eight points.
Both Vail Christian teams host Rangely Friday at 6:30 and 8 p.m.
Delta 54, Eagle Valley girls 45
DELTA – The Eagle Valley girls basketball team is getting close.
The Devils lost a heartbreaker Saturday in Delta, 54-45. Eagle Valley jumped out to a 13-4 first-quarter lead and had a 32-31 advantage going into the fourth quarter. The Panthers outscored the Devils, 23-11, in the fourth quarter to snatch the win.
Emily Kingston led Eagle Valley with 16 points, while Jamie Bair had eight and Kayla Gagnon seven.
Palisade 74, Battle Mountain boys 48
PALISADE – Huskies coach Tom Padilla put it succinctly – “We probably picked a bad night to play Palisade.”
The Bulldogs took a 28-15 lead after the first quarter and never looked back on the way to a 74-48 win Saturday against Battle Mountain boys basketball.
“It’s like I told them after the game, ‘We need to start thinking about playing as a team and not individuals.'” Padilla said. “A lot of times in games like this, guys want to step up too much individually. Monday, we’re going to talk about team basketball.”
Parker Lathrop led Battle Mountain with 13 points and Robert Weiss had seven points and four assists. Miguel Copas chipped in seven points as well. With the game out of hand, Padilla, put in some of his younger players and sophomore Jake Engle gave the team a lift with six rebounds.
Palisade 58, Battle Mountain girls 29
PALISADE – Score six points in the first half and wins are going to be hard to earn. On the other hand, the Battle Mountain girls basketball team played Palisade closely, being outscored just 23-21, in the second half of a 58-29 loss Saturday.
“We were out of position in the defensively, and offensively, we were not running through our plays,” Huskies coach Andrew Schmid said. “In the second half, we were a little more focused. We played man-to-man and we did pretty well.”
Adriana Morken topped the Huskies with 11 points, while Gabby Munguia had eight.
Next up is Rivalry Tuesday as Battle Mountain visits Eagle Valley. The girls play at 6 p.m., followed by the boys at 7:30 p.m.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or via email@example.com.