Sailors boys vying for Western Slope League title

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Steamboat Springs senior Pat Ayres was perfect Saturday.

He made all 10 of his shots and scored a team-high 26 points to help the Sailors edge the Rifle boys basketball team and remain perfect in Western Slope League play.

Steamboat coach Kelly Meek said Ayres had a great game but that the win was a team effort in what may turn out to be the league-championship clincher for the Sailors.

"We had a number of kids doing an absolutely super job," Meek said. "Dustin (Moran) moved the ball around and had 12 assists. Henry (Howard) stepped in and did a super job with Cameron (Burney) in foul trouble."

After trailing by double digits in the second quarter, Steamboat came back and cut Rifle's lead to just one point by halftime.

The Sailors outscored the Bears 13-8 in the third and went on to win.

"We dominated that third quarter," Meek said.

Senior Tyler Fosdick scored seven of his nine points in the fourth quarter, and junior Scott Peterson did another solid job on the defensive end, holding Rifle star Brandon Leuaullen to eight points one night after Sean Flohr, one of the state's best offensive players, scored just 12 for Glenwood Springs.

"Scott played lock-up defense all weekend," Meek said.

Steamboat still has four league games remaining but has a two-game lead on second-place Rifle.

With the new postseason format in Class 4A and Class 5A, the regular season is of even more importance. Only the league champions are guaranteed a seed. After that, a seeding committee -- much like the one used by the NCAA -- places the rest of the state's boys and girls teams in a 64-team field. Geographic location has no bearing.

And the Steamboat Springs girls basketball team picked up a huge home win against Rifle on Saturday, as well, as they jockey to finish as high as second in the league.

Moffat County is all but wearing league championship T-shirts, but the rest of the league teams need to close strong. Other than the 17-1 Bulldogs, no one is guaranteed a great seed.

The Steamboat girls, who are playing the best basketball of the season, close with four road games, but all four are vitally important in the final league standings.

Both Sailors teams are on the road this weekend. Steamboat faces Palisade on Friday and travels to Delta on Saturday.

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

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