Steamboat Springs The Steamboat Sailors girls basketball team might say they were simply tired of losing.
But an offensive game plan that clicked and a defense that shut down Glenwood Springs' Jeri Polowchena were more tangible reasons for why the Sailors' 70-40 blowout win over the Demons Saturday night.
The Sailors had lost its other two meetings with Glenwood this season.
"We're really excited. We decided that we're sick of losing and had to kick someone's butt," said guard Jennifer Weber, whose three-pointer at the buzzer at the end of the first half gave the Sailors a 17-point lead at the break.
After losing 53-50 to the Demons in the preseason and then again by a score of 49-40 in league play, the Sailors quickly gained a lead on the Demons Saturday, and were up 14-8 at the end of the first quarter. With two treys from senior Jessica Flores and a 3-pointer from Weber at the buzzer, the Sailors led 33-16 at the half.
"We played like a team. We looked for the inside pass and played great defense. We rebounded the ball well and transitioned better. Things started to click," Sailors coach Bruce Alston said.
The Sailors built on their lead in the second half.
Midway through the third period, Weber did a double fake on the floor before stepping back to make a three-pointer. She followed that up by stealing the ball from a Demon and throwing it down court to Bayli Stillwell, who scored to put the Sailors up by 20, 54-34.
In the final two minutes of the game, Flores put the icing on the cake when she sank two free throws, made a bucket and then sank another 3-pointer to give the Sailors 70 for the night.
Stillwell was unstoppable inside and out and finished with 19 points.
Flores had 15 points and Weber ended with 14.
It was not the first time the Demons had trouble containing Stillwell. In the previous match-up, she put in 20 points.
"(Stillwell) could have 20 every night if we are able to work our offense out. They have to guard her inside and outside. She can drive and she is six feet tall," Alston said.
But, another key was the Sailors defense. Coming into the game, Alston said his goal was to win the rebounding battle after being out-rebounded by the Demons in the two previous games.
The Sailors won the battle of the boards Saturday.
And, for most of the game they were able to stop Polowchena.
Even though the Sailors allowed the 5-foot-9 junior to go on a slight scoring spree in the second half, after Alston called a time-out they reduced her touches the rest of the game.
"I don't think (the Demons) came out with the same defensive intensity. They didn't shoot the ball particularly well," Alston said.
"But, I give our defense credit. They had great denial."
The Sailors entered Saturday's game off a 42-28 loss to Rifle Friday night. "We talked about it before the game today," Alston said.
"I told them we can't ever get comfortable with losing because at that point we're losers. We've lost to teams we know we can beat."