Steamboat Springs The Steamboat Springs Sailors exploded for 20 points in the third quarter of Saturday night's game against Glenwood and looked as if they would cruise to the team's 12th win of the season.
But the Demons' high-powered offense picked up the pace down the stretch, giving the undefeated Sailors all they could handle in the final quarter.
"We didn't handle the trap as well as we should have," Sailor guard Ryan Kiely said. "For three quarters, we played pretty well, but we didn't execute that well in the fourth and that helped (Glenwood) get back into the game."
The Sailors did manage to hold onto a 57-51 win, but it wasn't as easy as Sailors head coach Kelly Meek and the rest of the team had hoped.
"I'm really proud of the way our kids executed in the third quarter," Meek said. "But they just didn't listen to the coaches in the first half and that hurt."
A sluggish Sailors start helped keep the Demons' hopes alive for a large part of the game. Glenwood held a 15-14 first quarter advantage and trailed by just two points, 29-27 at the end of the first half.
But in the third quarter, Steamboat outscored Glenwood 20-7 and took a 49-34 lead into the final quarter of play.
Despite being hampered by a cold, Kiely turned in a strong performance and hit several key shots in the third.
The Steamboat Springs guard finished the night with 19 points including three 3-pointers.
He also helped protect the Sailors' lead down the stretch by nailing several free throws.
"It was important to hit those free throws," Kiely said after the game. "We practice shooting free throws a lot and I had a lot of confidence that I would hit them. I also had a lot of confidence that my teammates would hit them."
Steamboat finished he night 13 for 17 from the free throw line .
In addition to Kiely's 19 points, Danny Weber scored 11, John Aragon had seven and Rusty Eck netted seven points.
Meek said his team didn't rebound as well as it has been. Eck, Ryan Scheer and Weber all had five rebounds. Alex Mackey had four.
The Demons were led by Jacob Benson, who netted 19 points in the game. Glenwood's Chris Hoffmeister scored 12 points and Thomas Ahrens chipped in eight points.
The Demons were also sparked by Andy Hanson, who hit two 3-pointers in the fourth as a part of the rally.
"They may be the most athletic team we face in the league," Meek said. "Their offense has to be one of the best."
But on Saturday night, Steamboat's balanced attack was able to find some holes in the Glenwood defense.
"We slowed things down in the third quarter and that was the difference," Kiely said. "We tried to rush things too much in the first half. Once we slowed things down, we were able to take control."
Steamboat, 12-0 overall and 5-0 in the league, will play two important road games in Delta and Palisade this weekend.
Meek said he doesn't want to talk about his team's 12-0 start and prefers to look at the season one possession at a time.