Steamboat Springs Sailors girls basketball coach Bruce Alston was pleased with just about everything he saw on the court in Saturday night's game against Rangely with the exception of the final score.
"Our half-court defense was superb; we rebounded the ball well and we really reduced our turnovers," Alston said.
Unfortunately, he couldn't keep the Rangely players off the foul line, which led to the Sailors' third loss of the season.
The Rangely Panthers made the most out of the team's 31 foul opportunities, collecting 26 points, which helped the home team secure a 53-49 win.
"It was a weird game," Alston said. "I don't like to complain about the calls, but I'll just say this was a weird game."
While the Panthers made plenty of trips to the line, the Sailors scored five times in just nine opportunities.
"We have to look at this as a learning opportunity," Alston said. "When they are calling the game tight we need to make sure that we don't commit the mistakes."
On the positive side of things, Alston was happy with the shooting of Emily Hines, who finished with 19 points and five rebounds. Bayli Stillwell also had a solid game, netting 17 points and eight rebounds.
Alston was also pleased with the performance of guards Anya Allen and Jessica Flores at the point.
Several of Steamboat's top players were in foul trouble early in the game and spent most of the night on the bench or in a limited role on the floor.
Tracy Lucas, Jennifer Weber and Shelley Dunlop all fouled out of the game long before it was over. Weber, one of the team's top shooters, exited the game in the third quarter.
Rangely, however, was able to command the game the entire way. The Panthers took a 15-10 lead after one and held on for a 31-29 advantage at the half. Steamboat tied the game at 47 in the fourth quarter but didn't have enough firepower left down the stretch and fell to 1-3 for the season.
"We've lost two really close games," Alston said. "All we can do is learn from this game and move on."
The Sailors will move on this week as they host a top field of eight teams in the annual Steamboat Shootout.
Steamboat will open against St. Mary's Academy Thursday at 8 p.m. Other top teams at the event will include Conifer and Mullen, which are both ranked in the state.