Steamboat Springs Steamboat's 62-54 win against Eagle Valley on Friday drew very different reactions from the two teams on opposite ends of the Western Slope League.
For the Steamboat Springs High School boys basketball team - ranked fifth in the state - the sentiment was that while they won the game, the Sailors aren't close to where they need to be.
"Our defense was horrible," Steamboat guard Aaron Calkins said after the victory. "We need to improve so much. We didn't listen to our defensive rules. I mean, defensively it was just horrible."
Eagle Valley, on the other hand - at the bottom of the league with three wins - chalked the game up as a huge step in the right direction.
"I'm really proud of how we played (Friday)," Eagle Valley coach Pat Gabriel said. "Steamboat's a really quality team. They have been for a long time. They're not used to losing, especially at their house. I thought our kids came out and competed, and that's what we wanted."
The Devils gave the Sailors everything they could handle.
While Steamboat took a 37-27 lead into halftime, Eagle Valley didn't go away.
The Devils turned the Sailors first 12 possessions of the second half into eight missed shots and four turnovers.
Eagle Valley quickly closed the gap to 39-33 with less than four minutes to go in the fourth quarter.
"We had some good looks," Steamboat coach Kelly Meek said of the first 4:40 of the second half, when the Sailors didn't have a field goal. "We missed chippies, wide open 3s, we missed everything. Mid-range, power layups, we just missed everything."
But as has been the case with this year's Steamboat team, when the game tightens, the Sailors excelled.
Steamboat immediately went on a 9-0 run, closed the third quarter on a 12-4 run and extended its lead to 51-38.
Although Steamboat was outscored 16-11 in the fourth quarter, the three-minute stretch at the end of the third proved to be enough.
"It was just looking at the score," Calkins said of Steamboat's third quarter run. "We locked down and knew what we needed to do."
Calkins led the Sailors with 29 points - including seven 3-pointers - and 11 rebounds. Michael Vandahl chipped in 13 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
Scott House led the Devils with 21 points. Cesar Castillo added 12, while Zach Ramsay had eight points and 10 rebounds.
Today, Steamboat (6-0 in league, 12-2 overall) travels to Battle Mountain - a team Eagle Valley beat on a last- second shot Tuesday.