When trailing in a close game, all a team can ask for is chances to tie or win, and that's exactly what the Steamboat Springs girls basketball team got Saturday.
Unfortunately for the Sailors, they couldn't convert and the visiting Eagle Valley Devils held on for a 45-43 win in Steamboat.
"They wanted this one," said Eagle Valley coach Jamie Mayne, whose team broke the final huddle smiling and confident.
With 4.4 seconds left, Steamboat got the ball to half-court to call timeout. With 2.9 seconds left, the ball was thrown and wound up in Tara King's hands, but she couldn't get a shot off before the horn sounded.
Steamboat also had chances to tie in the game's final 90 seconds but couldn't convert from the perimeter. The closest the Sailors came to tying the game was with 7.3 seconds left, when King made the first of her two free throws. She missed the second, and senior Kayla Kostur was ready for the rebound and the easy put back, but the long arms of Stacie Santoro got to the ball first.
"They had good looks," Sailors coach Ashley Berggren said. "Unfortunately, the ball just didn't drop."
In previous games when faced with a six- or eight-point deficit, as Steamboat frequently saw Saturday, the lead would
mushroom to an insurmountable double-digit disadvantage. On Saturday, the Sailors refused to let the Devils put the game away.
Eagle Valley took an eight-point lead into the game's final quarter, but Steamboat slowly chipped away. A basket by Jessica Peters closed the gap to three points with 3:36 left.
The Devils' Amanda Padilla snuck behind the defense on her team's next possession and scored an easy two to answer. Junior Sailor Ann Barney answered with an open jumper from the baseline to bring Steamboat back to within three.
Junior Kelly Labor, who gave Eagle Valley point guard Alex Amsden no room to move all night, stole the ball and delivered a quick pass to Peters for a lay-up with 1:52 left.
The Sailors wouldn't get closer.
With Moffat County's easy win against Eagle Valley on Friday and Rifle's previous defeat of Moffat County, it appears as if the Bears and Bulldogs will challenge for the league title, but Steamboat, Eagle Valley, Battle Mountain and Palisade are still in the mix.
The Sailors (5-8 overall, 3-2 in league play) got an important win against Battle Mountain on Friday and will try and split the series against the Devils when they travel to Gypsum to face Eagle Valley on Feb. 19 in the league finale.
-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org