On one side of the court was Ranum's Joe Ciancio, scorer extraordinaire, a speedy perimeter player who is a threat to shoot when he steps across the half-court line.
On the other side was the Steamboat Springs boys basketball team, a group of guys committed to working together on both sides of the ball.
On Saturday, Ciancio got his 34 points, but the Sailors won the game, 83-67, and advanced to the Sweet 16 next weekend at Metro State College in Denver.
"We knew they were one-dimensional," Steamboat senior Tyler Fosdick said. "We knew (Ciancio ) was going to score. He's quick. He's got speed."
But Sailors coach Kelly Meek was still pleased with the way Scott Peterson played defense against the Ranum senior. If basketball uniforms had collars, the Steamboat junior's would be blue.
"Scotty made him work," Meek said.
Steamboat (21-2) got off to a slow start, settling for open -- but quick -- perimeter shots, missing most of them. On defense, while Peterson was eye to eye with Ciancio, his teammates were providing little help behind him.
"A lot of the kids were breaking defensive rules," Meek said.
The Sailors found themselves in a rare deficit at the end of the first quarter. Then senior Cameron Burney decided enough was enough.
Burney scored 15 points in the second quarter to give Steamboat the lead for good. He scored 11 points in a three-minute stretch, sinking three 3-pointers from two feet behind the arc. The Sailors went from down eight at the end of the first to up three by halftime.
"No one was playing. It was 17 to 9," Burney said. "I figured if I would take shots, I might miss them, but I might make them, too. I would have died for this game. I think Coach Meek deserves a state championship."
And the possibility of that exists thanks to Steamboat's third-quarter surge. The Sailors began playing better team defense and executing with precision on offense, pulling away midway through the third.
Steamboat outscored Ranum 23 to 10 in the third quarter. The Sailors pulled ahead by as much as 19 before Burney fouled out with 3:43 left in the game. The Raiders chipped away at Steamboat's lead, but couldn't cut it to less than 10.
The Sailors made 9-of-10 free throws in the final two minutes to put the game out of reach.
Steamboat entered Saturday's game having watched Ranum beat Eagle Valley on Friday, so they had a plan. Unfortunately, all the Raiders had were scoring averages from a Web site.
It's tough to game plan when all you know is Burney scores 16.6 points a game. Ranum coach Jim Montijo didn't know about Peterson or senior Pat Ayres, two players who have frequented the double-digit mark in recent weeks.
Saturday, Burney had 26 points and nine rebounds. Peterson scored 20. Ayres added 17. Senior Dustin Moran dished out 12 assists. Guarding one star player is tough. Guarding a team is tougher.
Steamboat's next opponent is D'Evelyn (20-4). D'Evelyn defeated Broomfield, 67-59, Saturday to set up a rematch with Steamboat.
D'Evelyn, the defending Class 3A champion, beat Steamboat, 71-54, in the Sailors' first game of the season. The time on Friday's Sweet 16 game is not set.
--To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org