Early season question marks have turned into team strengths as the Steamboat Springs boys basketball team ran its winning streak to seven games over the weekend.
The Sailors had to replace all five starters this season with relatively inexperienced players, but they have displayed the defensive toughness coach Kelly Meek wants to see.
The Sailors' bench also has proven reliable, offensively and defensively, allowing Meek to tinker with lineups when needed. Steamboat is building continuity offensively, particularly on the outside, but its defensive effort has more than made up for any offensive woes.
"I am really happy with what's taking place with them," Meek said. "They really reach down deep. We have a good practice work ethic, and they are doing really well and trying to keep a camaraderie among themselves."
Steamboat defeated Delta, 54-35, on Friday and beat Palisade, 62-58, less than 24 hours later to improve to 7-2 overall after opening the season with two losses in Roaring Fork. The two road wins during the weekend give Steamboat an early 2-0 edge in league play as well.
Delta opened the game against Steamboat strong, but the Sailors regained control in the first half and put the Panthers away in the third, outscoring the home team 17-8 in the quarter.
Senior Kyle Re led the way for Steamboat with 17 points. Senior Devin Borvansky had 13 rebounds, and junior Patrick Ayres had nine boards. Ayres and junior Dustin Moran handed out five assists each.
"We got good play from Teal Taylor and Henry Howard off the bench as well," Meek said.
Steamboat got out to a commanding 17-point lead against Palisade in the third quarter, but the Bulldogs turned it up another notch with three minutes left in the third quarter, Meek said.
"They started nailing big ones, and we didn't match their energy well, but we did hang on," he added.
Moran hit five straight free throws down the stretch to seal the win for Steamboat.
Re once again led the Sailors with 16 points, while Borvansky and Ayres each had nine. Borvansky had seven rebounds, as well. Peterson had six rebounds, while Ayres and Howard each had five.
Moran and Re flip-flopped starting point guard roles over the weekend, as Meek sought to match up best with the opponents' guards. Re started the season as the most experienced member of Steamboat's squad but saw Moran take over starting point guard duties at the Steamboat Shootout in December.
Steamboat returns to action at 7:30 p.m. Friday when it hosts defending league champion Rifle at the Steamboat High School.