Sailors girls anticipate 2000 opener

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— Their season scheduled to start Dec. 1, the Steamboat Springs girls basketball players are still battling for starting positions on the 2000 squad.

With three seniors returning from last season, Sailors coach Bruce Alston says his team has a solid base.

But senior Brienna Combs is the only projected starter at this point, Alston said.

Natalie Muth and Ashley Rogers, who are seniors, are returning starters from last year and could seemingly start again, Alston said.

Muth, a 5-foot, 6-inch point guard, averaged more than nine points per game last season.

Nissa Carlson, also a senior, should see some significant playing time at guard.

Steamboat has a large sophomore class that should contribute significantly to the team, Alston said.

Katie Carter, Lizzy Sack and Bayli Stillwell are three of those sophomores who are vying for varsity action.

The three girls recently led the Sailors volleyball team to the state playoffs.

The junior class has four players who are fighting for varsity positions.

Emily Hines, a junior guard, has improved tremendously over the past year, Alston said.

Last season, the Sailors finished third in the league behind Moffat County and Rifle, who were tied for first place.

Steamboat finished 9-7 overall.

The Sailors open play for the 2000 season in the Roaring Fork Tourney Dec. 1-2 in Carbondale.

Muth says this year's team has much to build on from last season.

Steamboat may have concluded its first week of practice Friday, but the senior was optimistic about the first few days of workouts.

"We all know our team goal is to be better than last year," Muth said. "I think practices have been going great. They've been really intense."

Alston said his team has improved greatly during each practice, including on its perimeter shooting.

"I think we'll be a very deep team," Alston said. "We'll play a lot of players. Last year, we weren't nearly as deep. We played six or seven.

"We'll run a lot harder this year just because we have the depth. That's real, real encouraging."

To reach Eric Rineer call 871-4229

or e-mail erineer@amigo.net

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