Steamboat Springs Even as the injuries continue to pile up for Steamboat Springs High School boys basketball senior guard Michael Vandahl, his performance never drops.
A week after leading the Sailors to a win in the Steamboat Springs Shoot-Out - he was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player - Vandahl fought through a deep cut to his thumb to help Steamboat pick up a 59-47 win against Sheridan, Wyo., in the team's opening game of the Flaming Gorge Tournament on Thursday.
Vandahl, who also has battled knee and hip injuries, cut his thumb so deep earlier in the week that it had to be glued together for the bleeding to stop. But even with limited practice this week, Vandahl scored a game-high 24 points, dished out eight assists and limited Sheridan's leading scorer and point guard to four points.
"Mike had a huge game considering the practice he had and the struggles with his hand," Steamboat coach Kelly Meek said.
Steamboat never trailed in the game, jumping to 11-4 and 30-18 leads through the first and second quarters, respectively.
In the third, with Colby Kostur battling foul trouble, Sheridan made a run, cutting the Steamboat lead to 44-38.
But, as been the case with this year's Sailors, they respond whenever the opposition makes a run.
Steamboat exploded in the fourth quarter, leading by as much as 59-40 with two minutes left and before Meek pulled the starters.
"There's a real ownership with this group," Meek said. "Anytime things don't go right, they say, 'Hey this isn't going to happen,' and they take over. Every time it starts looking ugly, they pull together. That's when they play their best."
Kostur had 17 points and 10 rebounds, while Aaron Calkins had 13 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
Steamboat plays Rock Springs, Wyo., at 5 p.m. today.