Rifle finds hot hand

Steamboat girls drop to 2-7 on season

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— Autumn rains fell early on the Steamboat Sailors girls Friday night as the Rifle Bears sunk the Sailors 56-30 at Steamboat Springs High School.

Autumn Hedberg, one of the top 3-point shooters in the state, drained a nothing-but-net three on the Bears' opening possession of the game for the first of her 11 points.

She was equaled right off by the Sailors' Jennifer Weber, who matched the trey with a long-range bomb of her own on the very next possession.

But though the Sailors hung tough for the entire first half, going into the locker room down 21-19, the second half was a very different story.

Unable to convert on offense, the Sailors fell victim to a spate of turnovers that led to easy Rifle baskets midway through the third quarter. From that point on, the Bears dominated the game, beating the Sailors 35-11 in the second half.

Hedberg and Ashley Gavito, who spent much of the second half camped out on the right side of the paint on her way to 15 points, led the Bears along with hot-shooting center Krista Wagstrom.

The Sailors' inside game, led by junior Bayli Stillwell, was working well. But, as the offense unraveled, the guards had trouble getting Stillwell and Tracy Lucas the ball. Stillwell managed to come away with 12 points and 10 rebounds, including a big layup at the end of the first half to bring the Sailors to within 2. Weber and Lucas added five and four boards respectively.

Coach Bruce Alston blamed the downturn in the second half on a lack of focus on offense.

"You can get back in a game with patience on offense and good defense," Alston said after the game. "We did not have patience on offense. Rarely did we make more than two passes."

Weber blamed the offensive problems on a mental lapse in the second half.

"We just need to slow it down in our heads," Weber said.

The Sailors were also playing without high-scoring guard Emily Hines and Jessica Flores.

The loss drops the Sailors to 2-7 and 0-2 in the league. Tonight, they have another chance to take home a league win as they travel to Glenwood Springs.

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