Ten minutes after the Steamboat Springs boys basketball team beat Eagle Valley on Friday, attention shifted to tonight's opponent: Battle Mountain.
"We have to defend better than we did (Friday night)," Sailors coach Kelly Meek said.
Occasional defense lapses were the only thing Steamboat could find fault in during Friday night's 65-46 win. Sailors junior Cameron Petet said the goal is to never allow more than 40 points a game.
"We followed the game plan except for being a little slack on defense," he said.
Steamboat got out to the early lead behind a basket from sophomore Michael Vandahl and an alley-oop slam from senior Mitch Bryden off a pass from sophomore Aaron Calkins.
The Devils cut the Sailors' 10-point lead to four with midway through the second quarter on two consecutive Cody Comerford baskets. That was as close as Eagle Valley would come to evening things up against the Sailors, who have found another gear since finishing second in their Steamboat Shootout on Dec. 10.
"We started moving the ball and starting running the offense like we are supposed to," said Petet, who finished with nine points and six rebounds.
Steamboat senior Scott Peterson did not start Friday's game because of a knee injury. Meek was hoping to rest Peterson, but the senior is one of Steamboat's best defenders and was needed against the athletic Devils squad.
Peterson finished with eight points in limited action.
Eagle Valley coach Pat Gab--riel started his son, injured senior John Gabriel, but played the 6-foot-6 forward little in the second half. John Gabriel was injured in Tuesday's game against Battle Mountain, and Pat Gabriel said he is uncertain when the senior will be back to 100 percent. The coach said he probably should not have played him Friday night.
In John Gabriel's place, Comerford led the Devils with 11 points. Carlos Martinez came off the bench to score nine points, all on three-point baskets. Matt Barker and Michael Smith each scored six.
Pat Gabriel said the offensive and defensive schemes did not change for Friday's game because of John Gabriel's injury.
"It's a team game," he said.
Steamboat exemplified that in Friday's win. The Sailors finished with 18 assists, including nine from senior Dillon Jenkins. Senior Mitch Bryden, who is getting his first look at the Western Slope League after transferring from California, finished with a game-high 21 points and added 11 rebounds.
Sophomore Aaron Calkins scored 10 for Steamboat, and Vandahl added nine points and five rebounds out of the point guard position.
Steamboat improved to 7-5 overall and 2-1 in league play. Up next for the Sailors is a 7:30 p.m. game today against Battle Mountain in Eagle-Vail. The Huskies were one of the preseason picks to win the league champ--ion--ship.
-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley, call 871-4208 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org