Sailor girls happy with first part of 2000-01 season

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— With a 4-2 record, the Steamboat Sailors girls basketball team has taken significant strides during pre-conference competition as it prepares for league play to begin Jan. 5 against the Palisade Bulldogs at home.

Senior post player Brienna Combs leads the Sailors in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots.

Combs, who made the all-tournament team at the Steamboat Shoot-Out, averages 15.7 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. She has four blocked shots and nine steals.

The Sailors have relied on a balanced attack so far this season. As many as 15 players have rotated during games throughout the first six contests.

The game experience that the younger players have received thus far should help the team get stronger as it approaches conference play, coach Bruce Alston said.

Sophomore Bayli Stillwell averages seven rebounds per game and sophomore Jannike Combs averages 6.8 rebounds.

Against Conifer in the Steamboat Shoot-Out championship, Stillwell grabbed 10 rebounds.

Ashley Rogers, a senior, averages 4.5 points and 4.6 rebounds per game.

Natalie Muth, a senior, is second on the team in scoring at 8.8 points per game. She has 13 steals and 10 assists.

Muth scored 14 points against Conifer. She was named to the all-tournament team at the Shoot-Out.

Dave Combs, Sailors assistant coach, said he feels his team can make a run at the conference championship this season.

Moffat County and Rifle figure to be Steamboat's toughest challenges in the 4A Western Slope Conference.

"It's going just about as we hoped it would go," Combs said. "We had a lot of young kids that we hoped would step up.

"We feel that we're rapidly improving and we feel like we're right on track to where we hoped to be for this point in the season.

"Our seniors are playing really solid and the underclassmen are stepping up."

The Sailors' two losses this season came to the Glenwood Springs Demons and the Conifer Lobos.

They were defeated in double overtime by the Demons in the Roaring Fork Tourney championship Dec. 2.

Combs said his players have been aggressive.

The goal, he said, is to work with his players on creating more shot opportunities for themselves.

"I think our defensive play is probably just where we need it to be," Combs said.

"We just need to get a little more polished on the offensive end."

Steamboat plays host to Palisade at 6 p.m. Jan. 5.

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