Gypsum The Steamboat Springs High School girls basketball team lost to Eagle Valley, 57-45, Saturday, in a game that carried the energy of a rivalry and saw the Sailors' comeback effort fall short.
"Steamboat came back on us ... but we pulled it together," Eagle Valley coach Ken Reagan said.
Eagle Valley pressured Steamboat's offense and controlled the glass for most of the game. The Sailors pulled close to the Devils several times, but whenever Steamboat took a misstep, Eagle Valley was able to capitalize and extend its lead.
"We started hard, but not smart," Steamboat coach John Ameen said. "That put us in a hole that we just didn't get out of. Then, we get a technical, we're down three, it goes from a three- to seven- (point lead)."
With time winding down in the third quarter, the Sailors had cut the Devils' lead to 37-34 and held the momentum. But after an out-of-bounds call against Steamboat, Sailor Darcy Hornstein slammed the ball and was called for a technical. The Devils' Jeanette Baker, who was a perfect 12-for-12 from the line, sunk the free throws and the Devils followed up with a bucket on the in-bound.
Steamboat pulled to 47-43 late in the fourth quarter before Eagle Valley's Jackie Eberhard made a pair of great plays down low to seal the win for the Devils. Eberhard converted a bucket while being fouled and collected her own rebound on the ensuing missed free throw, which led to a Miranda Aragon field goal.
"In the first half, we were giving them second, third and fourth opportunities on the offensive glass," Ameen said.
Eberhard had 13 rebounds along with 15 points, while Bair had nine boards.
In the second half, Steamboat¹s Colleen King returned the favor to the Devils, picking up a handful of offensive boards and collecting most of her nine points.
"She's always in the thick of things," Ameen said. "She did a fantastic job on Jeanette."
But, as most teams in the league know, there is only so much you can do to control Baker. In addition to her flawless night from the line, Baker picked up 10 points from the field to finish with a game-high 22, and added eight rebounds and assists.
The foul line, on both ends, hurt the Devils in the second half and gave the Sailors a chance to stick around. Eagle Valley was 5-for-14 from the line in the second half and sent Steamboat to the line often.
While they shot better than the Devils from the line, the Sailors still weren't able to pick up the points they needed down the stretch.
"We weren¹t working the ball as well as we could have on the offensive end, looking inside and getting easy buckets," Ameen said.
Eagle Valley guarded Steamboat's Gracie Stockdale tightly anywhere in the offensive half of the court, and with good reason.
"She got some 3-pointers off, and did that last time to us, so we were aware (of) where she was," Reagan said.
Stockdale finished with a team-high 14 points, while Hornstein chipped in nine.