Thursday, January 25, 2001
Steamboat Springs The Sailors are taking their show on the road this weekend.
After playing seven of their previous eight games at home, the undefeated Sailors are now gearing up for two crucial league battles away.
Those games include contests against the Delta Panthers and Palisade Bulldogs.
Steamboat, which is 12-0 and 5-0, begins its road stint against Delta at 7:30 p.m. today in Delta. The team then heads to Palisade for a game at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
Awaiting the Sailors in Delta will be the 4-8 Panthers, who dropped their previous two games against the Moffat County Bulldogs and Rifle Bears. They are 1-4 in the league.
Two weeks ago, Delta defeated a Glenwood team that gave Steamboat all it could handle last Saturday.
"They're a very hot and cold team," Sailors coach Kelly Meek said. "They (also) beat Hotchkiss.
"So, they've run hot and cold the entire year. They're the type of team that you just don't want to fool with."
Steamboat certainly hasn't been fooled in any games so far. In fact, the Sailors have looked nearly unstoppable in just about every phase of the game, including on the defensive end where they have shut down the league's best players.
Last Saturday, the Sailors' guards held Demons' leading scorer Thomas Ahrens to just eight points.
"They're tough," said Kurt Clay, who coaches Delta. "Obviously, they're undefeated and at the top of the league.
"They're going to play tough man-to-man the whole time. Kelly (Meek) does a good job with them."
If the Sailors can maintain the level of play they have displayed so far this year, the Panthers will be another stepping stone on their way to an undefeated season.
Clay, meanwhile, said his team has to play an error-free basketball game to have a chance against the top team in the Western Slope.
The Sailors will be keying on Panthers leading scorer Justin Evans, who is averaging close to 13 points per game as a power forward.
The Panthers will be trying to slow a well-balanced offensive attack, which has been energized lately by the play of Ryan Kiely and Danny Weber, who have both picked up the scoring since Andrew Johnston was sidelined by an ankle injury.
Johnston, who is averaging 14.9 points per game this season, may see his first action since injuring his ankle Jan. 6, Meek said.