Steamboat boys put up tough fight against Glenwood Springs

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— Glenwood Springs boys basketball coach Kevin Flohr paused. He needed a moment to take two deep breaths and collect his thoughts.

The Demons had just beaten Steamboat Springs, 60-56. It took a four-minute overtime to get it done, but Glenwood Springs remains alone atop the Western Slope League. And the Demons can thank "Diesel."

Wearing No. 00, junior post Ryan Foraker scored all 17 of his points in the second half to counter the shooting clinic Steamboat put on from behind the arc.

"Diesel stepped up (Saturday night)," Flohr said. "We seem to have different kids step up every game."

No one hates losing more than Sailors coach Kelly Meek, but the Sailors may have gained something far more important than a win Saturday.

"I think we found our team," he said.

Glenwood "out-everythinged" Steamboat in the first half of Saturday's game. At one point in the first half, the Demons had a 25-8 lead. The Sailors hit three 3-pointers in four minutes, closing the lead to 31-21 by halftime.

It was just a preview.

The Sailors came out with aggressive energy on defense and patience on offense in the third. Steamboat hit five consecutive three-point baskets, taking the lead, 38-37, on junior Tanner Stillwell's basket with 2:30 left in the third quarter. Meanwhile, the Demons couldn't get a shot off because of turnovers.

"It would have to be the best third quarter we've played this year, considering the position we were in," Meek said. "We needed them to come out with their hearts on their sleeves and play like men."

The teams traded baskets and the lead the entire fourth quarter. The Sailors grabbed the lead, 51-49, with 1:13 left on a huge 3-pointer from sophomore Michael Vandahl. Steamboat senior Dillon Jenkins got a steal, but Steamboat's Aaron Calkins, who wasn't being guarded closely, was whistled for a questionable travel at mid-court.

The Sailors appeared to have another steal on a loose-ball scramble in the closing seconds, but the ball bounced to the Demons, and Chris Benson took a lob pass in for the easy score to tie the game.

Jenkins got off a shot to win, but his three-point attempt missed.

Foraker came out in overtime and converted a three-point play, but Steamboat senior Mitch Bryden made his three free throws after being fouled on a three-point attempt. Jenkins scored, and then Bryden hit two more free throws.

Bryden led the Sailors with 14 points and five rebounds.

The Demons regained the lead on two free throws from Foraker with 1:14 in the game. The Sailors did not score on their next possession, which was the separation Glenwood needed.

Glenwood had only been in one other close game this season, "and it was probably our worst game of the year," Flohr said.

On Saturday, however, all Flohr could do was praise Steamboat's effort.

"It's always been that way," he said on expecting tough games against the Sailors. "They are a great team. Kelly is the best coach in the state."

The loss drops Steamboat to 7-8 overall and 3-4 in the league. The Sailors host Delta at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Steamboat Springs High School.

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

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