Girls look to rebound in postseason

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— The Steamboat Springs girls basketball team won 15 games so far this season, and coach Steve Moos doesn't want his squad to lose sight of that.

After establishing an 8-2 league record, the Sailors dropped their final two league games to Glenwood Springs and Rifle over the weekend, falling to 8-4 in the league and into third place behind Rifle and champion Moffat County.

The district tournament opens for Steamboat (15-4 overall) on Thursday, and Moos thinks the team that won its first 10 games of the season behind solid defense and balanced offensive play is the one that will show up in Grand Junction on Thursday.

Steamboat, the No. 5 seed, opens against No. 4 seed Montezuma-Cortez at 6:30 p.m. at Grand Junction High School.

The Steamboat boys will follow at 8:15 p.m. against Montrose.

"It was just a two-game stretch," Moos said of his team's recent losses to Glenwood and Rifle. "They should still be confident. We won 15 games. I'm OK with where we are. It's not going to be easy, but I think our chances are as good as anybody's."

Moos said it often goes both ways with regard to playing an unfamiliar opponent like Montezuma-Cortez. Rifle, the team that supplanted Steamboat in second in the league standings, opens with Palisade.

The Sailors beat the Bulldogs twice this season, but defeating a team three straight times is tough, Moos said. Rifle will have to do that to advance.

Montezuma-Cortez and Montrose, both 4A schools come postseason time, play in the 5A Southwestern league with Durango and the Grand Junction-area schools.

This summer, the Sailors scrimmaged those teams, except for Montezuma-Cortez, and more than held their own, Moos said.

Obviously, teams change from summer to winter. He expects both Montrose and Montezuma-Cortez to be improved.

Of course, he believes the Sailors are better as well.

After an uninspired performance in the home finale against Glenwood on Friday, Steamboat bounced back with more energy, albeit against a better team, in Rifle on Saturday, Moos said.

The Sailors lost 63-44, but Moos said the scoreboard never seemed right. He didn't feel as if his team played badly; it's just hard to stop a team unable to miss shots.

Senior Jen Weber led Steamboat with 12 points. Junior Erin Christensen and senior Jannike Combs each had eight points.

"They were fired up," Moos said of the Bears. "It was a full house. We had a lot of shots early, we just couldn't get them to fall. We couldn't hit and they couldn't miss."

At one point in the first quarter it was 17-5 in favor of the home team, Moos said, and he couldn't believe it.

"They simply shot lights out," Moos said. "Glenwood shot really well, too."

The Sailors, simply put, did not.

"Hopefully, that was just a little bump in the road," Moos said.

Steamboat's opponents in the district tournament beyond Thursday are yet to be determined pending the outcome of Thursday's game.

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

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