Gypsum There was a brief pause, but once the gears got cranking again, the Steamboat Springs boys basketball team cruised to yet another league win Saturday against Eagle Valley in Gypsum.
One day after both Steamboat and Eagle Valley played local rivals, the No. 5-ranked Sailors topped the Devils, 58-37, to collect their 30th straight Western Slope League win and move one step closer to another perfect regular season. And the Sailors did it for the second night in a row without star player Aaron Calkins.
"After losing Aaron, who was the player of the year last year, we weren't sure where we were with things," Steamboat Springs coach Kelly Meek said.
"I was pleased with the early part of our start, then after I made substitutions, we went downhill. But for the most part, we came back and contained (Eagle Valley's) top two guys."
Steamboat's tight defense, paired with Eagle Valley's collectively cold shooting, shut down a potentially explosive Devils offense.
"Our big emphasis was on No. 5 (Cesar Castillo) and No. 2 (Scott House), and it had to be," Meek said. "For the most part, it played out well for us. And we got some good play from the bench."
Castillo had one point, and House had 13.
"That was a huge difference," said Eagle Valley coach Pat Gabriel. "Cesar has been an all-league kind of player for us. He's usually knocking in 15 or 20. Scott only had 13, he's usually knocking into the '20s."
The Sailors launched some errant three-pointers early, but found their shooting touch in the second half.
"We started going inside better," Meek said. "For a while, when we got the lead, we settled for the quick, easy outside three, which wasn't going down for us. When we get hot, we're crazy hot. But we fell into the trap of a quick-shot offense ... then once we got it inside we started getting them into foul trouble."
Steamboat spread out its scoring, with three players in double-digits. Guard Michael Vandahl, who scored a career-high 37 points Friday night, led all scorers Saturday with 15. Colby Kostur chipped in 13 for the Sailors, while Connor Moore added 12.
Early in the first quarter, it looked like the Sailors were going to run away with the game as they built a 13-2 lead. But the Devils went on an 8-0 run to close out the quarter. With less than 30 seconds left, the Sailors held a 13-6 lead before Castillo stole a pass, rushed down the court and fed teammate Roberto Pantoja, who nailed a field goal. Then, with six seconds left, House stole a pass just inside the Devils' end, broke free to the bucket and slammed the ball home.
Steamboat had moved ahead 24-16 by halftime and continued to distance itself from Eagle Valley in the second half.
Steamboat, at 13-0 in the 4A Western Slope League, closes out its regular season Friday when it hosts Battle Mountain.