Girls fall to fourth

Panthers defeat Sailors in District 6 play

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Thursday's win against Moffat County was one of the highlights of the season for the Steamboat Springs girls basketball team, but it might mean little now.

The Sailors suffered back-to-back lopsided losses Friday and Saturday in the District 6 tournament, leaving Steamboat coach Steve Moos expecting the worse when state seedings are released at about noon today.

Steamboat missed its shot at playing for a district title with its 31-57 loss to Montrose on Friday, and it fell from third to fourth place with a 31-52 loss to Montezuma-Cortez on Saturday in Fruita.

In addition to making it into the district championship game, Montrose and Rifle won their respective leagues, and so Moos thought whatever team finished third behind the Indians and Bears in District 6 would be seeded respectably by the state committee. Montrose and Rifle likely will be rewarded for their strong seasons with today's bracket release.

"I thought we could get in the middle of the pack," Moos said. "I think this loss will really hurt us."

Steamboat will have to travel for a Tuesday or Wednesday game. Brackets can be viewed at the Colorado High School Activities Association's site this afternoon.

Moos said it would have been easier to accept the loss to Montrose on Saturday if Steamboat had at least played well against Cortez on Saturday. Montrose could not have played much better against the Sailors.

But the energy Steamboat brought against Montrose was absent against Cortez.

"It's like we thought we could just turn on the intensity," Moos said.

The Sailors and Panthers played fairly even in the first quarter before Cortez pulled away in the second, building what turned out to be an insurmountable 28-15 halftime lead.

Moos turned to reserves Lindsay Stanford, a senior, and sophomores Missy Chotvacs, Kelly Labor and Jessica Peters for a spark, and they provided it on defense, hassling Cortez's guards and disrupting the passing lanes.

"(Moos) said we needed to pick it up," Stanford said.

The four were rewarded for their effort with a start in the second half, but the Sailors had difficulty getting anything going offensively in either half. The Panthers collapsed in the paint while trying to force Steamboat to make perimeter shots, which the team wasn't able to do with much consistency.

Kayla Kostur had eight points for Steamboat, while Stanford had seven. Labor scored four.

The Panthers, meanwhile, showed off a balanced scoring attack that Moos had not seen from the team. In previous games, Brittany Whiteman, a guard, had carried most of the offensive load, but Cortez scored from all over the floor Saturday.

Whiteman dropped in 12, but Lindsey Wilson scored a game-high 14 points, making her presence known in the post.

Moffat County overcame a first-round loss to Steamboat to finish fifth, winning two straight to avoid elimination. Moos said the Sailors and Bulldogs likely are headed to the Front Range to face two of the state's top-ranked teams.

The Western Slope League All-league teams were named after Montrose won its sixth-straight district championship. Kostur and Erin Christensen were Steamboat's representatives. Rifle's Krista Wagstrom was named the Western Slope Player of the Year.

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

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