Battle Mountain keeps lead

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The Steamboat Springs basketball team was not going to let Connor Drumm and Trent Beckley dictate Saturday's game.

The Sailors accomplished that goal but ultimately lost the game, 44-35, allowing the third-ranked Huskies to retain control of the Western Slope League.

In Battle Mountain's blowout of Steamboat on Jan. 14, Drumm and Beckley scored more than 40 points.

On Saturday, the Huskies didn't break the 40-point mark until Drumm hit two free throws with 32 seconds left in the game. He finished with 11 points but only had three field goals. Beckley scored all six of his points in the second half.

"Our kids, for the most part, followed the game plan," Sailors coach Kelly Meek said. "They fought from the beginning to the end. For 32 minutes, this was the best basketball we've had this season."

Battle Mountain's win may have come at a price. Beckley, who already was nursing an injured hand, rolled his ankle when he landed on the back of a Steamboat player's foot with less than two minutes remaining. Huskies senior TJ Montoya did not know the severity of the injury.

With Beckley facing triple teams down low, and Drumm being shadowed by Steamboat's defense, the game opened up for Battle Mountain's perimeter players. Josh Ruark, Montoya and Derek Rush combined to score 25 points in the victory.

No shot was bigger than Montoya's 3-pointer with 2:59 left in Saturday's game. Steamboat senior Mitch Bryden scored three of his game-high 23 points on a three-point basket with 3:19 remaining in the fourth. The basket cut the Huskies' lead to 31-28. On the next possession, Montoya took the ball down the court and popped the shot.

The Sailors, who got several good looks down the stretch but could not convert, were forced to foul, and the Huskies went 8-of-10 from the line in the final minute.

"For the most part we executed really well," Meek said. "Our game plan was to slow it down. We had to. We were in a what we call five-high until we called a special (play)."

Steamboat (5-7 in league) finishes the regular season on the road. The Sailors are at Rifle in a 7:30 p.m. game Friday and at Glenwood Springs at 4 p.m. Saturday.

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