Steamboat makes amazing comeback


— Rusty Eck scored 15 points and Ryan Kiely had eight points and four clutch steals as the Steamboat Sailors fought back from an 18-point second-half deficit to top the Platte Canyon Huskies 64-61 at the Steamboat Shoot-Out.

Kiely, who shot 1-8 from the field, hit five of seven free throws, including the go-ahead point with 36.3 seconds remaining in the game.

The Sailors trailed 47-29 with just more than five minutes remaining in the third quarter.

Danny Weber scored a basket and a free throw for a three-point play, and Kiely sank a pair of free throws to bring Steamboat to within 13.

By the end of the period, the Huskies led the Sailors 55-44.

Ryan Scheer had the opening bucket of the fourth quarter and Andrew Johnston nailed a three-pointer at the 5:11-mark to close the margin to 55-51.

Chad Martin led the Huskies with 22 points on 7-9 shooting and Adam Fearn and Shawn Flores each added 10. Martin scored 18 of his 22 points in the first half.

Scheer finished with 11 points for the Sailors and Johnston and Weber each had 10. Kiely's steals came down the stretch when the Sailors needed them the most.

Jeff Aragon and Johnston each made a free throw at the end for the final two points of the contest.

The Huskies had an opportunity to tie the game with nearly five seconds remaining, but Kiely knocked the ball out of Patrick Clute's hands as time expired.

Thursday's win advanced the Sailors to the semifinals, where they now face the Hotchkiss Bulldogs at 8:15 p.m. today.

Hotchkiss defeated Kent Denver 70-61 for the right to play Steamboat.

The Huskies, who dropped into the loser's bracket, nearly spoiled the Sailors' hopes of winning the Shoot-Out.

Steamboat had a 21-11 lead at the end of the first quarter but trailed 40-27 at the half.

"We just came out and got the big lead and we relaxed," Kiely said. "That killed us. We weren't rebounding, we weren't playing defense and we were sloppy with the ball."

The Sailors were able to come from behind, Kiely said, by not panicking with their backs to the wall.

"We just chipped away at it," he said. "We finally started being more patient with the ball, not trying to get (the lead) back right away."

Kelly Meek, whose Sailors improved to 5-0 on the season, said he was disappointed with his team's ability to stop the Huskies on offense.

"That's as weak a defensive effort as we've had in a long time," Meek said. "That dribble drive really hurt us and we weren't rotating well off of that."

The Sailors showed up in the fourth quarter, though, Meek said.

Steamboat outscored Platte Canyon 20-6 in the final quarter.

"I have to give the kids a lot of credit because they showed a lot of heart right there. They picked their energy level up and they picked up the challenge that we gave them at halftime."


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