Steamboat Springs The Steamboat Sailors disposed of one final team at home Wednesday night, holding off the Ralston Valley Mustangs during the first round of the 4A regional playoffs.
The Sailors, who improved to 20-3 overall and 11-0 on their home court, defeated the Mustangs 54-46 behind a strong performance from Ryan Kiely.
Kiely finished the game with 22 points, including eight of his team's 10 first-quarter points.
The Sailors will now face the Pueblo Central Wildcats in the second round of the regional tourney Saturday in Pueblo.
Game time for that match up will be determined today.
Central, which is a No. 3-seed out of the South Central League, knocked off Liberty, 74-50, Wednesday night.
The winner of the Sailors-Wildcats game will advance to the state tourney at the Pepsi Center in Denver starting March 8.
Steamboat's win over Ralston Valley advanced the Sailors to the Sweet 16 of the regionals.
"It feels good to get this one out of the way and move on," said Kiely, who also chipped in four rebounds and three steals.
The Mustangs made it as close as 21-16 in the second quarter before a steal by Danny Weber ended up sparking a 7-2 run.
Ryan Scheer took control of the rock after Weber's steal and tossed it inside to Andrew Johnston who made an easy layup for a 23-16 lead.
The Sailors were ahead 28-18 at the half.
Weber finished with six points, five rebounds and four steals.
The Mustangs would threaten again about mid-way through the fourth quarter when a wide-open Brian Murray found the hoop for two points that made the score 38-35, still in favor of the Sailors.
Moments later, Jeff Aragon pulled up and swished a shot from beyond the arch to extend the lead to 42-35.
The Mustangs retaliated again, closing the score to 43-38. Johnston was then swarmed near half-court by two defenders, forcing him to call for a timeout with 2:08 remaining.
Following the timeout, Kiely hit a shot that opened up another seven-point lead.
For the final minute of the game, the Mustangs fouled intentionally, hoping for a miracle.
After a couple of missed shots at the free-throw line by the Sailors, the Mustangs were able to cut the lead to 48-46 with 21.8 remaining.
Kiely was then sent to the line with 21.1 to go.
He sank his first foul shot and then watched his second one roll around the rim before it dropped through the net.
The Sailors would score four more points from the foul line to seal the victory.
In the locker room after the game, coach Kelly Meek kept telling his players to "recharge their batteries" in anticipation of the next game.
Central enters the contest with an 18-5 record.
"I felt for the most part we really worked hard," Meek said. "We made some mistakes, but we really worked hard."
Meek was proud of his team's defensive effort, he said, but admitted that Central will be a stiffer test.
"They've just been crushing people," Meek said. "They're a very high-powered offensive team. It really presents a defensive challenge for us."
Steamboat Springs 54, Ralston Valley 46
S.S. 10 18 9 17 54
R.V. 7 11 11 17 46
Eck 1-3 2-2 4, Scheer 0-2 2-2 2, Weber 1-5 4-6 6, Johnston 3-9 0-1 6, Kiely 6-13 10-12 22, Maddox 1-1 0-0 3, Mackey 0-1 1-2 1, Aragon 2-4 3-4 9, Nelson 0-0 1-2 1.
Ralston Valley (46)
Aber 5-9 3-5 13, Roush 0-3 2-2 2, DeCook 1-2 1-2 3, Fletcher 3-6 0-0 6, N. Fazekas 5-9 0-0 12, Murray 3-6 2-2 8, Ferrans 1-6 0-1 2, Bolser 0-0 0-1 0.
Three-point goalsAragon 2, N. Fazekas 2, Maddox 1.