Sailors' defense slams Skiers

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The Steamboat Springs boys basketball team picked up its first win of the year, defeating Aspen, 53-32, in the opening day of the Steamboat Shootout on Thursday.

Steamboat junior Patrick Ayres made the opening basket of the game, and the Sailors never trailed again. The home team built a 13-2 lead against the Skiers by the end of the first quarter and extended it to 25-8 by halftime.

Neither team got much going in the third quarter, scoring a combined 15 points.

But juniors Dustin Moran and Henry Howard did come off the bench for Steamboat and put some spark in the offense, hitting two baskets toward the end of the third after the Sailors turned the ball over on their previous two possessions.

Howard's three-pointer with 2 minutes, 27 seconds to go in the third was the first -- and only -- three-point bucket Steamboat had Thursday evening.

But that wasn't met with disappointment by the Sailors players or coach Kelly Meek.

At the Roaring Fork tournament last weekend, Steamboat dropped two games and spent a majority of the time launching shots from behind the arc. The combination of an impatient offense and a lackluster defense did the Sailors in against Montrose and Glenwood Springs.

Thursday against Aspen, Meek got the effort he had been looking for from his players.

"We defended like a team," Meek said.

Meek assigned sophomore Scott Peterson the task of limiting Moss Schermerhorn's outside looks. The 6-foot-6 shooter from Aspen was a focal point of the Sailors' defense, but Schermerhorn had just seven points Thursday and no shots from long-range.

"We didn't want him sticking threes," Meek said. "He didn't have one, and I was pleased with that."

On the flipside, seven Steamboat players scored Thursday, led by senior Devin Borvansky's 11 points to go with his 13 rebounds.

Howard had nine points off the bench, and three other Sailors players had eight points each.

"We had much better shot selection (Thursday)," Borvansky said when compared to last weekend. "That comes from being physical and not living off the three-point line."

The Skiers appeared poised to make a run in the fourth quarter Thursday, and they pulled to within 11 after trailing by as much as 17.

Easy shots from Peterson and Teal Taylor and near perfect free throw shooting down the stretch, however, gave the Sailors the easy win.

Steamboat shot 88 percent from the line Thursday.

Meek and Borvansky, a starter, said the bench players came in and provided needed energy all game, making big players on offense and defense.

"Our job is to work hard and play defense," Howard said.

The Sailors likely will need continued inspired play from all their players as they continue on in the Steamboat Shootout. Steamboat plays again at 8:30 p.m. today against Conifer, a 4A team from the Jefferson County league.

-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com

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