Girls blow out Battle Mountain

Despite easy victory, coach still looking for improvement

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— Coach Steve Moos couldn't fault the effort, but he felt as if the Steamboat Springs girls basketball team didn't play four quality quarters.

Despite defeating Battle Mountain 66-31, the Sailors' usual rotation of eight played loose at times Friday.

"We weren't as crisp as we need to be," Moos said. "But our effort was good."

The competition may have had a little to do with that. In the past, members of Steamboat's team have said they sometimes have a tendency to play at the same level as their opponent is playing.

With the assistance of post player Katie Russell, the Huskies were improved since the last time these two teams met on Jan. 10 to open the league season, but Battle Mountain clearly was not the better team, as evidenced by its three quarters of single-digit offensive output.

Steamboat (13-1 overall, 6-1 in the league) came out aggressive as usual on the defensive end to start Friday's contest, scoring the first nine points of the game before establishing a 16-4 lead at the end of the first quarter. Five different Sailors scored in the opening eight minutes.

Steamboat extended its lead to 22 at the half before blowing the game open in the third quarter off Jen Weber's right hand and Bayli Stillwell's left.

Inside and outside, the two combined to score all 16 of Steamboat's points in the third quarter.

During the same frame, however, the Huskies did manage to collect at least six offensive rebounds, providing Moos with enough reason to challenge the Sailors to perform at a higher level for four quarters regardless of the opponent.

"We just wanted to run everything and just execute it well," Moos said of the game plan. "We wanted to do a lot of basic things real well. I don't know if we did that."

The scoreboard, however, read 50-20 after three quarters, allowing Moos to send his starters and regular varsity players to the bench early.

Fourteen different players were used Friday night by Steamboat, including a couple of sophomores -- Ashley Zeeb and Madison Proper -- and two freshmen -- Kelly Labor and Missy Chotvacs.

Zeeb scored two points, while Chotvacs scored four, including the final basket as time ran out.

"We have really good chemistry, not just with the varsity," senior Jannike Combs said. "We're really happy when they get in there."

Moos is thrilled to be able to get the future of the program an opportunity to play in the present.

Junior varsity coach Tara Arroyo said having some of her Steamboat players square off against the opposition's varsity only helps her team on the court, even if those couple of girls have the ball blocked or stripped away.

On Friday, Russell led all scorers with 18 points. Combs led the Sailors with 13 points, while Stillwell had 12 and Weber had 10.

What might have pleased Moos most about Friday night's game was his team's refusal to look beyond Battle Mountain to Tuesday's game against Moffat County.

The Bulldogs are the only team to have defeated the Sailors this season. Moffat County remains undefeated in league play and is a winner of 25 consecutive league games.

Following the game on Jan. 24, Moos said he didn't feel Steamboat played its best. Game film confirmed that.

"I don't feel like we stepped up to the challenge," Moos said.

On Tuesday, the Sailors have a chance to pull even with the Bulldogs in the race for the league title, but Moos said his Steamboat team can't afford to perform the same way it did in the previous matchup.

"We need to play very intense and play our game," Moos said. "And rise to their level."

Combs said the girls learned a lot about themselves following the loss to Moffat County, mostly regarding their minds.

"I think we've gotten a lot better mentally since then," she said. "I think that's what we lacked last time."

At 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Steamboat Springs High School gym, the Sailors find out.

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