Steamboat Springs When the Sailors girls basketball team rolls into Moffat County territory tonight, they won't be feeling any pressure, coach Bruce Alston said.
"(The Bulldogs) are the definite favorites. We've got nothing to lose. All the pressure is on them," Alston said.
As the only undefeated team in the league, the Bulldogs stand at the top as the reigning league champions, while the Sailors are fifth with just one league win. The Sailors were one of the five league teams the Bulldogs beat this season with a 53-33 win on Jan. 11.
But all season, Alston said that if his team can put everything together for one night, they could beat any team in the league. Coming off the thrill of their first league win and the return of seniors Emily Hines and Jessica Flores from a four-game hiatus, tonight could be the night.
Since league games started, guard Jennifer Weber has been a major offensive weapon with 13.3 points per game. The 3-point shooter's biggest game came against Palisade when she put in 18 points.
At the post, Bayli Stillwell has had big games when the Sailors can find ways to work the ball to the inside. A strong inside offense worked well against Glenwood Springs where Stillwell scored 20 points, most from down low.
And with senior guard Hines back in the lineup, the Sailors will have another boost in scoring. Hines was the Sailors' leading scorer coming into the Christmas break.
But for Alston, turnovers and rebounds have been crucial factors in games and something the Sailors have been looking to improve in the stat book.
Rebounding will be key with the Bulldog post players Jessica Norman and Katie Telfer. In Friday night's game against Delta, the duo combined for 31 points.
But the Bulldogs' major scoring threats come from guards Laurel Mortensen, with 12 points per game, and Amber Sanchez, with 11 points per game.
In the Sailors' last matchup with the Bulldogs, the Sailors contained Mortensen and Sanchez in the first half, allowing the Bulldogs just 18 points. But the Bulldogs had a strong second half as they quickly gained on the 18-8 lead to finish the third quarter up 39-21.