Steamboat Springs The Steamboat Springs Sailors girls basketball team overcame a seven-point deficit at halftime to clobber the Glenwood Springs Demons by 18 points.
"This was probably one of our best team games of the year," Sailors coach Bruce Alston said.
The Sailors guarded their home court Friday night by playing tough zone defenses, which shut down most of the passing lanes and inside shooting. But the Demons played some tough defense of their own to keep the game close at 13-10 at the end of the first quarter.
After not finding anything on the inside for scoring, the Demons resorted to their long shooting skills and drained four 3-point baskets in the second quarter. Natalie Lancaster scored the first 3-pointer in the Demons' first possession of the quarter to tie the game at 13-13. Katie Richelieu, Kessie Schwanebeck and Summer Moore then all hit 3-point shots to help with the Demons' 18-8 domination of the quarter.
At halftime, the Sailors were down 28-21.
"From there, we just knew what we had to do," Sailors senior Natalie Muth said.
Muth came out in the third quarter to score a quick layup, followed by another layup by Sailor Jannike Combs to make the score 28-25, which set the tone for the quarter.
The Demons sparred with the Sailors briefly, getting scores from Samantha Blake and Angie Grass to stretch back out to 32-27.
The Sailors countered with two free throws by Muth. That was matched by a nice running jump shot through the lane by the Demons' Richelieu to make it 34-29. But then Glenwood went cold and Steamboat kept chipping away at the lead.
"We changed into a 2-3, match-up zone," Sailors assistant coach David Combs said of the change the team made to stop the Demons' scoring.
He said the wings came out to cover the outside shot better and the post battened down the paint.
The Demons didn't score a basket for the rest of the quarter, and shots by Muth, Jannike Combs, Brienna Combs, Emily Hines and company gave the Sailors a 38-34 lead at the end of the third quarter.
The Sailors took their defensive momentum all the way through the fourth quarter, making up for some turnovers, and holding the Demons to just six points in the fourth. Scoring most of the points in the last four minutes, the Sailors got 20 in the final quarter and rolled to a 58-40 win.
"We just couldn't hit a shot," Demons coach Charlie Brenzikofer said. "You can't score it if you can't get it in the hoop."
The loss put the Demons at 8-10, which puts the team down to sixth or seventh in league standings.
"That was the best second half of the season," Muth said of the effort. "The defense won it for us."
Muth finished the game with 16 points, half of those came in the third quarter. She also had four assists and four steals.
Jannike Combs had 10 points and Katie Carter had 10 points and eight rebounds.
Hines, Bayli Stillwell and Ashley Rogers each pulled down nine rebounds.
The Sailors held the Demons' best scorers, Moore, Richelieu and Lancaster, to seven points each.
The Sailors are now 6-5 in league and 10-8 overall. If they win today against Delta, at 4:30 p.m. at home, the team would be seated third or fourth in the district tournament, pending on the outcome of the Palisade vs. Rifle game.
In other action, the Steamboat Sailors boys basketball team lost a heartbreaking battle to the Demons on the road, 63-56. The Sailors boys need to win today at home against the Delta Panthers, beginning at 6 p.m., to clinch the 4A title outright.