Friday, February 18, 2005
The players on the Steamboat Springs boys basketball team wasted little time putting on their freshly made black, red and white Western Slope League Champion T-shirts, slipping them on over their jerseys on the gym floor.
The Sailors (19-2 overall, 13-0 in league) entered Friday night's game against Battle Mountain assured of at least a share of this year's league title with Rifle. After an 81-56 defeat of the Huskies, however, the Sailors clinched the outright league crown for the second-straight year.
Battle Mountain (14-8, 7-6) is still alive in the playoff hunt. Four teams are all the state seeding committee likely will take from the Western Slope, and Moffat County's defeat of Eagle Valley on Friday night gives Battle Mountain a legitimate shot at making the postseason.
Steamboat faces Eagle Valley (10-10, 7-6) at 6:30 p.m. today with hopes of finishing undefeated in league play. Battle Mountain hosts Moffat County with the playoffs likely on the line.
"We have to forget about (Friday)," Huskies coach Philip Tronsrue said. "(Tonight) is the night."
But Friday night was all about Steamboat's shooters. The Sailors combined to make 13 3-point baskets, distancing themselves from the Huskies early. For all practical purposes, Friday's game was over by halftime, with Steamboat holding a 47-22 lead.
"It was raining 3's," Tronsrue said. "They brought in guys off the bench, and they made three's."
No one played bigger than Collin Hare, the player the team calls "Tiny." On senior night, Hare came off the bench to score a game-high 19 points. Senior Pat Ayres added 17. Hare said he knew he would have a good shooting night during pre-game warm-ups.
"Tiny has been so sick for so long," Steamboat coach Kelly Meek said. "He hasn't practiced in like five weeks. It was nice to have Tiny back."
The first time Steamboat played Battle Mountain, the Sailors won by three points, but nearly the entire team had been sick leading up to that game. Hare said Friday's game wasn't about proving the team was that much better than Battle Mountain.
"I thought we played to our potential," Hare said. "It just happened to be against the team that almost beat us."
Junior Trent Beckley led Battle Mountain with 17 points. Senior Vincent Cisneros added 10.
Senior Tyler Fosdick had 13 points for the Sailors. Senior Henry Howard scored eight points and pulled down eight rebounds. Senior Dustin Moran handed out nine assists.