Inspired Sailors rally for victory

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— Down by as many as 18 points, the Steamboat Springs boys basketball team rallied to beat Conifer, 42-39, on the night the new high school gymnasium was formally named Kelly Meek Gymnasium.Many friends and former players were there, along with a cake.

But Conifer nearly spoiled the party.

Thanks to a dominating fourth quarter from Steamboat sophomore Colby Kostur and two late free throws from senior Scott Peterson, the Sailors were able to advance in the Steamboat Shootout and give Meek win No. 513.

Despite trailing 23-10 at the half, Peterson said, the team thought it would win.

"We came in at the half with our heads up," Peterson said.

And then Meek turned their heads sideways with his halftime speech. "I came in at the half and said, 'There's only one guy on this team with any swagger and cockiness. Me.'"

The Sailors responded, outscoring the Lobos, 32-16, in the second half.

"On offense, we quick-shot the ball in the first half," Peterson said. "We need to move the ball more like we did in the second half."

Conifer maintained a 10-point lead through the end of the third quarter on timely shooting from sophomore Zane Womeldorph, who finished with 18 points.

Peterson, who usually def--ends down low, moved out to the perimeter. He and sophomore Michael Vandahl held Womeldorph scoreless in the fourth.

"We said, 'Dog him. Make the others beat us,'" Meek said. "You saw our guys come up and double him. On our press, we did switches and traps and got stuff off that, too."

Steamboat fed off its defense and went on the offensive beh--ind Kostur. The sophomore came off the bench to score 12 points, including 9 in the fourth quarter.

"My shot was on," he said. "We run certain plays for guys whose shots are on."

Peterson, who finished with 4 points and seven rebounds, wasn't so modest when talking about the play of Kostur, Vandahl and fellow sophomore Aaron Calkins through three games this season.

"Those three sophomores aren't playing like sophomores," he said.

Steamboat improves to 1-2 overall after the win and will face Montrose at 8:15 p.m. today in --fficially -- Kelly Meek Gymnasium. Conifer will play Basalt at 3 p.m. today.

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

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