Boys basketball claims season opener

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Steamboat's Aaron Calkins drives to the basket after picking up a loose ball against Coal Ridge High School during the Brenda Patch Invitational Tournament in Carbondale. The Sailors won, 78-45.

— Second chances, third chances and even fourth chances at times gave the Sailors the scoring opportunities they needed to beat the Coal Ridge boys basketball team 78-45 Saturday at the Brenda Patch Tournament at Roaring Fork High School.

In their first game of the season, the Sailors out-rebounded the Titans, 43-19, with most of their boards coming on offense from Colby Kostur, Aaron Calkins and Cameron Petet.

"We came out and started strong on the boards," Steamboat coach Kelly Meek said.

The same Sailors trio combined for 49 points to help them to the victory. Although Steamboat was only slightly larger in size than Coal Ridge, it used its players effectively.

"I have the utmost respect for (Meek)," said Mike Cox, head coach of Class 3A Coal Ridge. "Year in, year out, no matter what his talent is, he's going to put an outstanding team on the floor. I feel sorry for some of the 4A teams they are going to have to face this year. They're tough."

Coal Ridge was in the game until a 7-0 Steamboat run started the second quarter. Titan Eric Schmitz tried to get his team back in the game by sinking two 3-pointers in the second quarter, but with the Sailors getting second chances on most of their possessions, the Titans couldn't gain any ground.

"With the type of defense (Coal Ridge) was playing, scrambling and trapping everywhere, we got a lot of easy looks out of our regular offense," Meek said.

Steamboat just kept running its game plan, working the ball unselfishly from the perimeter and from the paint. No matter how much Coal Ridge tried to speed up the game's pace, Steamboat stuck to its plan.

Calkins sealed Steamboat's victory in style, slamming home two points in the middle of a 15-0 Steamboat run to start the fourth quarter.

Calkins led Steamboat scoring with 26 points, Kostur had 19 and Alex Wood and Petet each netted eight. Calkins also led the Sailors in rebounding, grabbing 13, followed by Kostur and Richie Keith, who each had 10.

"Richie hit the boards well and Tanner (Stillwell) defended well," Meek said.

Meek was pleased to have had the opportunity to play everyone on his team, including Michael Vandahl, but still sees room for improvement "in every phase."

He looks forward to Steamboat's match-up today against Roaring Fork at 6 p.m.

"That will be a good test," Meek said of last year's Class 3A runners-up.

Glenwood Springs Post Independent's Joelle Milholm contributed to this story.

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