With an energetic first-half performance on senior night, Eagle Valley looked to sink Steamboat's hopes of an undefeated league record.
But Steamboat coach Kelly Meek righted the Sailors' with an empassioned speech, and his team stormed back for a 70-48 win Saturday night in Gypsum.
"They brought more energy than we did, and were prepared to play all the way from their players through their coaching staff," Meek said. "Our guys lifted to the challenge that we put on them at halftime, because we got on them pretty good."
Steamboat's Aaron Calkins netted a game-high 31 points, while teammate Michael Vandahl added 21, improving their record to 12-0 in the 4A Western Slope and 17-3 overall.
"It's an easy group to work with," Labor said. "They don't take anything personally. They hear the message."
After trailing, 33-29, at the half, the Sailors exploded for 25 in the third and 16 in the fourth, limiting the Devils to 15 in the final two quarters.
Shorthanded and playing its second game in as many days, the Steamboat Springs girls basketball team fell to Eagle Valley, 48-30, on Saturday night
The Sailors' (1-18 overall, 1-11 in league play) lone win of the year came in an earlier meeting against the Devils.
"This was a team we beat by 12 and didn't play all that well," Steamboat coach John Ameen said about the first meeting. "We walked into this game confident but certainly
Despite that confidence, Ameen said the Sailors were thrown off their game early on.
Eagle Valley applied a press against Steamboat, and Ameen said while the Sailors broke it for the most part, they struggled to find a rhythm in their half-court set.
"The wanted to rush us, and we were ice cold from the field," he said. "It just played right into their hands."
The Sailors played with only six girls after Gracie Stockdale wasn't able to play because of an ankle injury suffered Friday night against Moffat County.
Ameen said Steamboat struggled in the first half with its defense as well as its shooting. In the second half, he said the Sailors played much better, but the defecit from the first half was too much to overcome.
"We played much better in the second half, but it's hard when you're down by 20," he said.
The Sailors cut the Devils' lead to 14 with five minutes left in the fourth quarter, but could never get any closer.
With two games left in the season, Ameen said it's imperative Steamboat plays well to build some momentum heading into the summer.
"We want to finish the season on a positive note," he said. "We have to finish these last two games strong. That's how we have to end."
Ian Cropp of the Vail Daily contributed to this report.
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