With gusto, Devils dismiss Delta | VailDaily.com
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With gusto, Devils dismiss Delta

Ian Cropp
Vail, CO Colorado

GYPSUM ” Eagle Valley boys basketball supplied its loyal fans with a flurry of “oh” and “ah” moments Friday night in a 68-56 win against Delta.

But for three seconds, the Devils’ Cesar Castillo brought the entire gym to its feet with a play that left fans and teammates shaking their heads in near disbelief.

After Eagle Valley’s Scott House sunk a pair of free throws to extend the Devils’ lead to 35-18, Delta looked to get one final shot before the half. With three seconds left on the clock, a Delta player heaved the ball to midcourt where it was tipped by a leaping Castillo. Without breaking stride, Castillo collected the ball, moved a few feet past midcourt and threw up a shot right before the buzzer sounded.

The ball hit the rim, and everyone waited.

And then it dropped in for what surely should have been worth more than 3 points,

setting the crowd ablaze.

“That’s Cesar right there,” House said. “We knew it was coming as soon as he got the ball. It was cool because he played defense to get that shot.”

After the game, Castillo brushed off the play and basked in the team’s third league win.

“A win is a win, you know, and that’s pretty much all that matters,” he said.

But the Devils sure did make winning look fun.

“We have some neat athletes ” they are fun to watch,” Eagle Valley coach Pat Gabriel said. “Basketball is a great game.”

It seemed like just about everybody in an Eagle Valley uniform had a turn on the highlight reel.

House, who had a game-high 30 points, connected on one dunk, but his best move of the night came when Castillo fed him for a layup and he one-touched the ball with his left hand off the backboard for a basket. Zach Ramsay, the 6-foot-10 Eagle Valley center, had four emphatic rejections and showed some touch from the line, going 2-for-2. Roberto Pantoja, who chipped in 6points for the Devils, was a menace on the offensive boards and had a nice double-pump layup. Chris Brubeck came off the bench to add 6 hard-earned points and picked the pocket of several Delta players. And Brett Wilson and Markus McChesney had some forceful blocks later in the game that served as dessert for the already satiated crowd.

“It’s pretty much all it is ” have fun and play hard,” Castillo said.

The Devils stormed out to a first-half lead thanks to some clutch shooting and tight defense. Eagle Valley went 15-for-28 through the first two quarters, including 5-for-7 from beyond the arc.

“That’s exceptional,” Gabriel said. “And we held them to 18 points in the first half. I was really pleased with the first half but not pleased at all with the second. They beat us by 10 points, and there’s no excuse for that.”

Delta went on a 13-3 run to start the third quarter and chopped the Eagle Valley lead to 48-38 heading into the final frame. After going cold from the field for most of the third quarter, the Devils found their offensive touch again. Delta kept the score close with some good free-throw shooting in the dying minutes.

“We fouled them too much, and they hurt us from the foul line. They were 15-for-24. Fifteen points from the line is a lot,” Gabriel said.

The teams combined for 17 fouls in the first half and 18 in the second.

The Delta girls’ game plan for Friday night’s game changed just before they took to the court, which was a good thing as far as coach Craig Cerise was concerned.

“We were planning on trying to shut down Jeanette Baker, but it made it a little easier because she wasn’t playing,” Cerise said.

Eagle Valley, without the services of Baker, its top-scoring player, along with two other starters in Yvette Parra and Kacey Bair, fell to Delta, 57-33.

“We’ve become a much better running team,” Cerise said. “We were pretty stagnant against them before.”

Earlier in the year, the Devils picked up their only league win thus far against the Panthers on the road.

“We got a lot of good time in for the young girls,” Eagle Valley coach Ken Reagan said. “We didn’t do too many things wrong.”

Delta did a good job collecting loose balls all over the court, especially under its own basket. The Panthers had three players in double digits, with Alicia Gieck collecting a game-high 18.

Jackie Eberhard had a solid game in the paint for Eagle Valley, scoring a team-high 16 and grabbing a game-high 21 rebounds.

“I told everybody that someone was going to have to step up and score the points that Jeanette gives us every night,” Reagan said. “Jackie was that girl. We just needed everybody else to be higher up on the scale there.”

After some early offensive woes, the Devils got things rolling later in the game.

“They did some good things,” Reagan said. “I think we could have hung with them if we had our full force. But (Delta) played Glenwood tough and Rifle tough.”

Both teams picked up a lot of fouls, although Delta found more success than the Devils at the line, going 21-for-32.

Eagle Valley heads to Palisade today.

Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or icropp@vaildaily.com.


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