Steamboat Springs The Steamboat Springs girls basketball team played with what coach John Ameen thought was some of his team's most balanced inside-outside offense in its Feb. 2 meeting with Delta - a close game that came down to the wire in Delta's favor.
In the rematch Tuesday night, Steamboat came out with enough energy, but tipped the balance too far inside. Steamboat's cold outside shooting enabled Delta (7-11 overall, 7-6 in league) to expand its lead during the second and third quarters to a 42-33 victory.
Steamboat guard Brittany Long helped her team crack Delta's full-court press and open the game with a string of solid possessions. Lizzie Stoll hit a basket, converted a three-point play and Long added a bucket to put the Sailors up, 9-2.
Steamboat continued to match Delta's efforts on the boards as Delta began pushing the ball in transition. A pair of Deidra Tyner baskets started a 6-0 Delta run to close the gap.
Steamboat was down by only three heading into the second half, but Delta came out of the locker room with renewed vigor.
"I told them that I knew they were tired, but that (Steamboat) was just as tired," Delta coach Craig Cerise said. "I challenged the team to show that we had more energy."
Delta increased its man-to-man pressure, created a few turnovers and began winning the inside battles behind Heather Rux to outscore Steamboat, 14-5, in the third quarter.
"Last time, our shots were falling from the perimeter," said Steamboat's Shannon King. "We had boards on the inside, but the tough shots just weren't falling."
Steamboat began applying some pressure of its own in the fourth quarter. The Sailors went on a run with a basket from Long and a three-point play converted by Colleen King to cut the lead to eight and win the quarter. Unfortunately, the point deficit was too much to recover from. Steamboat lost, 42-33.
Stoll led Steamboat with 11 points and 13 rebounds and Colleen King had nine points and nine rebounds.
"We hoped to be able to come together, but we didn't get the job done," King said, already looking ahead to the team's final regular season home game, 6 p.m., Friday, against Battle Mountain. "We have some payback for Battle Mountain, so we'd like to go out with a win."