Steamboat Springs The Steamboat Springs girls junior varsity basketball team ended the 2002-03 season at 12-7, but coach Tara Arroyo said the record is a bit deceiving.
For one, the Sailors faced several varsity opponents, including North Park, a Class 2A state-qualifying team.
Second, not atypical of teams at any level, there were certain games Steamboat had the chance to win but did not. The record, however, isn't as important as what the players learned. In that regard, it was a successful season for the Sailors.
"A lot of these girls were freshmen and sophomores so playing against juniors and seniors on varsity is huge for them," Arroyo said. "It helps us out. We're trying to make this program tougher and stronger."
The Sailors did pull out the occasional 20-point victory against opposing JV squads, but Arroyo said more benefit comes from playing a more experienced team and losing than handily defeating an inferior team.
"The JV was pretty young," she said. "Some of these girls are just competitors. They want to play the tougher teams. They will be huge for our program in the next couple of years."
As was the case at the varsity level, a highlight from the recently completed season was a 41-40 win against Moffat County. In recent years, the Bulldogs have emerged as the standard by which girls basketball in the Western Slope is measured, even at the JV level.
"I think it was a total turning point for us," Arroyo said. "After the Moffat County game, we went to Delta and Palisade and played so well. It was a huge game for us. I went to school in Steamboat and know how big it was to beat Moffat."
Fifteen girls made up the team at various points during the season. Not everyone played equal minutes, but all played important roles during the year, Arroyo said.
Team members were Erin Christensen, Hannah Gary, Lyndsay Stanford, Melissa White, Ashley Zeeb, Kelly Labor, Missy Chotvacs, Madison Proper, Jennifer Davis, Abby Johnson, Tina Bucci, Katie Darlington, Tara Schneider, Ashlen Wilkerson, Jessica Peters and Casey Murphy.
"At the JV level, you are trying to prepare these girls for the varsity level and to be the best," Arroyo said.