Girls basketball wins third straight

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Even if high school basketball had a shot clock, it's not like this year's Steamboat Springs girls basketball team would use it -- or need it.

Frequently wasting no more than 10 to 15 seconds before taking a shot, Steamboat defeated league opponent Battle Mountain, 55-40, on Friday night in Steamboat.

Behind 26 points from senior Kayla Kostur and 11 from junior Missy Chotvacs, with both those players scoring most of their points in transition, the Sailors picked up their third straight league victory. Steamboat is now 5-7 overall and 3-1 in league play.

The Huskies dropped to 1-3 in Western Slope League play and 5-8 overall with the loss.

Steamboat likes to play an up-tempo style, and Friday, the Sailors baited the Huskies into trying to match their speed.

"We're not an up-tempo team," Battle Mountain coach David Hite said.

Instead, the Huskies prefer to work the ball on the perimeter, take open looks when possible, but mostly feed the ball into post players Lauren Prewitt and Meagan Reigel. Much of that changed when Prewitt picked up three first-half fouls, and the Sailors established as much as a 12-point advantage Friday.

"I wanted to get them to run to use their speed," Sailors coach Ashley Berggren said about her decision to push the tempo. "We weren't there at the beginning. It's coming along."

But Steamboat's impatience in a half-court set is something the team will continue to work on, junior Jessica Peters said. The Huskies never threatened to cut into the Sailors lead, which grew to as much as 19 points late in the third.

In a close game, Steamboat will have to take better care of the basketball. On Friday, however, the players, particularly the guards, demonstrated exactly why this team is dangerous, using their quick feet and hands to run down loose balls, swipe the dribble away from Huskies' players and lead the fast break.

"We're getting a little more comfortable at this speed," Peters said. "We're working on it."

The opening quarter played out like one of those tug-of-war games with Battle Mountain inching close to the pit before it regained its position and began to fight back.

The teams exchanged baskets -- and turnovers -- through the first eight minutes before the Sailors took control in the second quarter, building a 27-17 halftime lead.

Kostur scored six in the second quarter, and Peters added a big 3-pointer with 4 minutes, 18 seconds left in the second. Steamboat went on a 13-0 run in the waning minutes of the first quarter and the first five minutes of the second.

Battle Mountain got as close as 10 early in the third but no closer. Reigel had 12, and Prewitt had nine in limited action for the Huskies.

Friday's win was a big one for Steamboat, as it jockeys for top position early in league play. Through four games, the Sailors are in the thick of the league hunt. They will have little time to relish the win with a 6 p.m. game today against Eagle Valley.

The Devils defeated the Sailors earlier this year at the league tournament.

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

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