Sailors hope to topple Bears

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— For the past month, three points and a missed opportunity in Rifle have haunted the members of the Steamboat Springs High School girls basketball team.

After leading for most of the two teams' first meeting, the Sailors fell to the Bears in a 51-48 game in Rifle. "We've improved a lot since then," Sailors coach Bruce Alston said. "But I think that game left an impression on us."

Steamboat, 5-4 in the league and 9-6 overall, will be looking to avenge the loss today at the Steamboat Springs High school. The junior varsity game will start at 6 p.m. and will be followed by the varsity matchup at 7:30 p.m.

"We are going to have to reduce our turnovers if we want to win," Alston said.

The Bears, 6-2 in league play and 11-4 overall, will come to Steamboat with a team packed full of talent.

Rifle is led by Marilyn Sampson, who has been averaging 12.8 points a game and 10.8 rebounds. She will be backed on the inside by the athletic Lisa Samuelson and Megan Langstaff.

Langstaff, a 6-1 senior, also has 10.8 rebounds a game and despite an off-game in her last outing has to be considered a scoring threat. Langstaff had six points against Palisade but only two in the Bears' 55-35 loss to Moffat County on Feb. 2.

The Bears also have a talented outside shooter in Monica Morris, and the offense will be run by guard Jamie Lyons.

Alston said another key for his players will be shutting down Sampson, Samuelson and Langstaff.

"We are going to try to run against them," Alston said. "We've got 10 people that we use a lot and they have only got six or seven."

Alston is hoping to wear the Bears down by moving the ball quickly up and down the floor. If his depth can outlast the Bears' top three or four players, the Steamboat coach thinks his team can prevail.

"We are still going to need to pass well and take care of the ball," Alston said. "But a think a quick tempo will be in our favor."

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