Plunging Pirates prove problematic for Sailors

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— A strong St. Mary's Pirates defense proved too much for the Steamboat Sailors as they tallied only four points in the first half of Thursday's game in the first round of the Steamboat Shoot-Out.

The Sailors pulled together in the second half to drop in another 20 points, but that was not enough to overcome the early deficit as the Sailors lost 45-24 to the 3A school from Colorado Springs.

Coming into the game, Pirates coach Mike Burkett said defense was his team's strong suit, which was evident in the first half when only Sailor Emily Hines was able to find the net as she made one bucket and scored two from the foul line.

"I'll give them some credit, they have an excellent half-court zone defense. It takes us a while to adjust to it sometimes," Sailors coach Bruce Alston said.

While a strong Pirates defense hindered the Sailors in the first half, Alston said that his team also had trouble putting the ball in the basket.

The Sailors might have had good shot selection, Alston said, but poor shooting percentages, especially with layups and other shots in the paint, hurt them.

"Honestly in the first quarter, they were nervous shots; we weren't relaxed and comfortable," Alston said. "We have got to learn to control our emotion. This is how we learn, by playing in tournaments."

The Pirates' all-state guard Kelsey Burkett was the biggest scoring threat to the Sailors as she tallied 18 points Thursday night.

In the second half, guard Jennifer Weber got things rolling when she put in a 3-pointer. The Sailors turned things around after a 28-4 halftime score as they out scored the Pirates 20 to 18 and had fewer turnovers and more rebounds in the second half.

As the Sailors' lone returning starter, Hines led the team with 10 points and Weber followed with 5. Defensively, Bayli Stillwell pulled down the most rebounds with 6 and Weber had 5.

The eight-team tournament will have the Sailors meet up with Aspen tonight at 6:30 p.m. If his three perimeter players are on target tonight, Alston said the Sailors should be a strong contender.

"We have an excellent outside shooting team, we just haven't shown it yet," Alston said. "If they're all on the same night, any team should watch out."

The Sailors had the chance to watch Aspen drop a 55-33 game to Conifer Thursday.

"Aspen is always a solid team. They have a big strong post girl with nice moves. It's going to be a challenge. If we have a total effort, the outcome will be the way we want it to be," Alston said.

To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com

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