Sailors set for state

Boys get top seed, girls headed to Craig

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The Class 4A state tournament brackets are out, and the Steamboat Springs boys and girls basketball teams have to be pleased with how Sunday's seeding meetings went.

Before Sunday's state gathering in Denver, there was some speculation that the state would take only four teams from the Western Slope in each gender classification.

Instead, the Western Slope League saw six boys teams and six girls teams receive postseason seeds.

After rolling through the league season and putting together a 17-game winning streak that spans more than two months, Steamboat's boys received one of four No. 1 seeds and will host a sub-regional tournament this weekend at the high school.

Steamboat's girls, after starting 2-7 overall, rallied to finish 11-11 overall and garnered a No. 9 seed in the Tonya Haave region. They will play in a sub-regional in Moffat County this weekend.

The Sailors girls open against D'Evelyn (17-6) at 7:30 p.m. Friday. If they win, they will face No. 1 seed Moffat County (21-1) at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. Steamboat narrowly upset Moffat County in Craig earlier this season.

This is the first year that Class 4A and Class 5A have switched to a 48-team bracket based entirely on a seeding committee's call. The teams appear to be seeded with as much geographic sense as possible, as evidenced by the Steamboat boys' potential Saturday game against league foe Eagle Valley (10-11).

Neither team will have to do much traveling this weekend.

The boys and girls are trying to reach the Sweet 16 hosted by Metro State College in Denver. To advance, the girls will have to win Friday and Saturday night. The Steamboat boys will have to beat either Eagle Valley, which they have beaten twice already, or Ranum (12-11), a member of the 5A Skyline League, on Saturday.

Several teams in both brackets play 5A schedules but drop to 4A for the postseason. Ranum may have an edge based on schedule difficulty, but Meek knows Eagle Valley is a tough first-round draw.

"They have talent," Meek said of the Devils. "Ranum has the second leading scorer in the state in Joe Ciancio. He's averaging 25 a game. He's shot over 200 free throws. That means he gets into you hard. The nice thing is we'll be able to watch them Friday night."

Steamboat plays Ranum or Eagle Valley at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The other three teams in Steamboat's sub-region are No. 4 seed D'Evelyn (19-4), a team that beat Steamboat in the first game of the season, defending state champion Broomfield (13-10) and Moffat County (9-12), a league opponent that wasn't sure it would be playing this weekend.

Broomfield and Moffat County play at 7:30 p.m. Friday. D'Evelyn plays the winner at 6 p.m. Saturday.

On the girls' side, Mullen (16-7) will play Battle Mountain (8-14) at 6 p.m. Friday. The winner will face Montrose (17-5) at 5 p.m. Saturday in Craig.

If the Steamboat teams advance to the Sweet 16 on March 4, they will face the winners of Saturday's other sub-regional final at their respective sites.

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