One would think a 25-point lead with seven minutes left in the fourth quarter would be a safe lead in any basketball game.
And the decisive edge the Steamboat Springs girls basketball team held against Conifer proved to be enough, as the Sailors won 50-42 Saturday night. But that doesn't mean the visiting Lobos didn't make things interesting.
Conifer's wing players spent the first three quarters of Saturday's game launching perimeter shots that missed -- sometimes barely and sometimes badly. But all those misses turned into makes in the fourth, as the Lobos strung together a 17-0 run in just more than seven minutes to pull to within eight after trailing by 25.
With 21 seconds left and the score 46-38 in favor of Steamboat, Conifer's Tahnee O'Shea was called for an intentional foul after Sailors senior Shelley Dunlop hit the hardwood with a thud.
Dunlop made her second free throw. She was fouled on Steamboat's subsequent possession, making another free throw, giving the Sailors a 10-point lead with 19 seconds to go.
Senior Bailey Draper sealed the win after nailing both her free throws with 7.5 seconds left.
Sailors coach Steve Moos said he was pleased this was the final game of the weekend for Steamboat, sending the Sailors (3-2 overall) out with a solid win against a 4A opponent.
"We brought out intensity and played with much more confidence and shot well," Moos added.
On Friday, the Sailors came out lethargic against a talented Basalt team and found themselves down 20 after just 16 minutes. Saturday, Steamboat was ready to play at the opening whistle.
And while the home team didn't play perfect basketball, it managed to play well enough on both ends of the court to finish up the tournament with a respectable 2-1 record.
Many of the Sailors are playing together at the varsity level for the first time, and there is some adjusting to be made, Dunlop added. Steamboat isn't satisfied yet, but Saturday's offensive work, particularly in the third quarter, gave the team some life.
"Today was a breakthrough effort," Dunlop said.
Dunlop and junior Kayla Kostur led the Sailors offensively with 13 points each. Draper chipped in with five points out of the point position.
Kostur and Draper also made the Steamboat Shootout All-Tournament Team.
Kara West, an All-Tournament team selection, led Conifer with 13 points. Teammate Kalie Midcap had 12.
Roaring Fork won the tournament with a 3-0 overall record.
Steamboat returns to action at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Summit. The JV and freshmen play at 5:30 p.m.
--To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208
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