Wood’s free throws lift Devils in OT | VailDaily.com
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Wood’s free throws lift Devils in OT

Ryan Slabaugh

Basalt had two chances to tie the game at 71 as time wound down, but when Kevin Cruz stole an inbounds pass and found Wood open down the floor, Basalt was forced to foul, sending Wood to the line for the ninth time of the night. He went 1-for-2 to seal the win and bury memories of the Devils’ 64-47 loss to Basalt last month.

“I wrote “free throws’ on the board before the game, maybe that helped,” a relieved Devils head coach Phil Cain joked after the game. “This shows we have been improving. We lost a close one to West Grand last week in overtime, and we even gave up the lead tonight and kept our composure.”

Wood, who led all scorers with 27 points, hit 13 free throws during the game, but none were as important as the ones he hit in the extra period. Wood made a pair from the charity stripe in the opening moments and was followed by a nifty layin by sophomore Cody Gerard. The four-point lead forced Basalt to rush its next three possessions and miss some open looks. Senior Craig Jagger made one more free throw to give the Devils a five-point lead with a minute remaining, but Longhorns guard Cody Burkholder buried a 3-pointer from the corner to cut the lead to two.

As Eagle Valley stalled, Basalt was forced to foul, and Wood continued to make free throws. The Devils hit their first 16 from the line and made 32-of-42 on the night.

“Justin’s been playing a lot better,” Cain said. “He’s hitting the 3, and getting some dribble penetration.”

Eagle Valley lost its game-long lead midway through the third quarter, when Basalt forward Ryan Thompson, who had 18 points before fouling out in overtime, scored a fast-break bucket to give his team a 3-point advantage. A layin by Wood cut the lead, and when Gerard hit a 10-foot jumper, the Devils got the lead back 51-50 going into the fourth.

That’s when Wood really caught fire. He scored seven-straight points to give his team a 60-54 lead, which shrank as Basalt began to rally. Burkholder cashed in two from the line to tie it at 62-62, giving Eagle Valley one chance to win the game in regulation. A runner by Wood fell just short, and the game went into overtime.

Gerard finished with 14 points and seven rebounds, while junior Sean Bartlett added seven points and eight boards.

“This is a big win,” Cain said. “With the district tournament right around the corner for us, we need to show we can beat these types of teams.”

The victory snapped a four-game losing streak by Eagle Valley, which improved to 4-8 in the 3A Western Slope League and 5-12 overall. Basalt fell to 7-5 in the league, and 7-10 overall.

The Devils travel to Roaring Fork Friday night. Game time is scheduled for 8 p.m.

Lady Devils stumble

GYPSUM –Basalt forwards Autumn Caughern and Lauren Redfern combined for 49 points Friday night, as the 3A Western Slope League leaders proved whey they’re on top.

The Longhorns, after allowing Eagle Valley to close within 10 points at halftime, gave up just nine points in the second half on their way to a 65-29 win.

Caughern, a junior, led all scorers with 25 points and nine steals.

“We needed to keep taking care of the ball, but that was the big thing tonight,” Devils head coach Mike Vidakovich said. “We ended up with 37 turnovers, which will never win you ball games. But I’m always proud of the girls.”

Redfern added 24 points and four rebounds, as Basalt improved to 11-1 in the league and 14-3 overall. The Devils fell to 4-8 in the league, 7-10 overall.

Basalt raced out from tipoff to a 16-3 lead after the first quarter, but strong defense and six-straight points by senior Brooke Baughfman cut the lead to 10 going into intermission.

Basalt would answer with a 14-3 run in the third quarter to increase its lead and seal the victory.

Baughfman led the Devils with eight points and four rebounds, while Kelly Verderber added six points.

Eagle Valley travels to Roaring Fork Friday for a 6:30 p.m. start.


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