Sailors trample Panthers

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— Both the Steamboat Sailors boys and girls basketball teams won their last regular-season home games Saturday against the Delta Panthers and are looking forward to the district tournament.

For the boys, a road loss to Glenwood Springs Friday night only the second loss of the year for the Sailors may have been just what they needed.

"I think they were becoming complacent," Sailors coach Kelly Meek said.

The Sailors showed a lot of intensity through the game. At halftime, the Sailors were comfortably up 32-15. However, the third quarter proved close to disastrous, with the home team only scoring four points. But the Sailors held tough on defense and kept a 36-24 lead at the end of the third.

They rolled in fourth quarter, gaining 17 points, accentuated by a Alex Mackey slam dunk over two Delta players on a fast break, and winning the game 55-40.

"They're coming off of two losses and I knew they would be out for blood," Panthers coach Harold Clay said.

Ryan Kiely led the Sailors in scoring with 23 points. Nine came in second quarter and nine in the fourth quarter. He also had three steals. Rusty Eck grabbed seven rebounds to lead the Sailors.

The girls, though feeling a little lack-luster from the night before, overcame a cold streak or their own to beat the Panthers, 49-32.

The Sailors took a comfortable eight- to 10-point lead throughout most of the game, going up 13-5 in the first quarter and cruising to a 24-17 lead at halftime. In the third quarter, the Sailors opened their lead to 33-23 with three minutes left. At that point, Panthers coach James Carter called a time out to regroup. His team then held the Sailors at 33 the rest of the quarter and three minutes into the fourth, bringing the score to 33-28. Delta held tough then, trading baskets to 36-31, until the Sailors stepped up. Natalie Muth intercepted a Panthers pass and got and easy layup. Then the Sailors forced a stop and Muth nailed two free throws to make the score 40-31. Bayli Stillwell then drove in for a score after holding the Panthers again, putting the game pretty much out of reach.

"I think they spent a lot of their energy in last nights game," coach Bruce Alston said. "But you have to hand it to Delta, they played hard."

Eight Sailors scored in the game, with Muth leading the team with 17 points, followed by Katie Carter with eight.

Stillwell pulled down nine rebounds and Jannika Combs and Carter both had eight.

Both the boys and girls will play Thursday at the district tournament. The boys, who are seeded first, play at 1:15 at Mesa State College, but coach Meek said he may not know who they play for a few days.

The girls could be third or fourth, and coach Alston said he would know what seed and what time they play by Monday.

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