Down to the wire

Sailors beat Bulldogs by 1 with seconds left

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The "Running Sailors" label printed on the Steamboat Springs boys basketball roster is misleading.

"We can't run with anybody," coach Kelly Meek said.

Not this season, anyway. Instead, the Sailors find themselves atop the Western Slope League by winning close and winning ugly. The latest victory -- their 10th straight -- came Friday with a 33-32 win over rival Moffat County.

Steamboat junior Patrick Ayres put his team up one point with 53 seconds left in the fourth quarter, giving the Bulldogs plenty of time to call not one but two timeouts to find the play they wanted.

Everyone in the gym knew the ball was going to Moffat County senior Anthony Loughran, but a miscommunication by Steamboat's defenders left Loughran double-teamed without the ball and his younger brother, Kevin Loughran, open under the basket.

Kevin got the ball with less than 10 seconds left, but he missed as the Sailors' recovered defensively. Steamboat senior Kyle Re grabbed the rebound.

The Bulldogs tried to foul, but officials did not blow the whistle as time expired and fans spilled onto the hardwood floor.

"We ran a double back pick to get (Anthony) open," Moffat County coach Mike LeWarne said. "Even if he was guarded, we thought he could take the shot."

Steamboat's game plan was to shut down Anthony Loughran and sophomore Derek Duran, Moffat County's two leading scorers, who were averaging nearly 33 points a game.

Friday, the Bulldogs scored 32 -- as a team. Loughran scored 13 points, while Duran, who spent most of the first half in foul trouble, only had four.

"We were worried about their inside game with Loughran," Re said. "We made him stay outside. We tried to keep them perimeter oriented."

Re's perimeter touch, meanwhile, lifted his team offensively.

Re did not practice much leading up to Friday's game and was a game-time decision, Meek said. But Re came off the bench and scored 16 points and grabbed four rebounds, including the final one of the game.

"Almost every time he came off we ran a special for him, and he executed," Meek said. "He created things for his teammates."

Steamboat's guards and forwards combined to grab 13 rebounds, most of which came in the second half after the Sailors got beaten on the boards in the first.

Moffat County's perimeter spread offense pulled the Steamboat defenders away from the hoop, opening the lanes when the Bulldogs' beat their man off the dribble.

Other than the game's tempo, LeWarne said Moffat County executed its game plan for the most part.

Other than a stretch in the third quarter when Anthony Loughran scored six points off turnovers, the Sailors executed to perfection -- defensively anyway.

The win moved Steamboat to 10-2 overall and 5-0 in the league, while Moffat County fell to 6-6 overall and 3-2 in the league.

Meek said he's had coaches tell him the Sailors are the surprise this year in the Western Slope.

"We want to be league champs," Re said.

In the JV game, Moffat County defeated Steamboat 47-38.

-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208

or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com

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