Steamboat Springs The opening week of the Luke DeWolfe era as Steamboat Springs High School boys basketball coach couldn't have gone much better.
After falling in their opening game at a summer tournament June 26 to 28 at Western State College in Gunnison, the Sailors went undefeated the rest of the way, opening eyes with an asset the team really hasn't been accustomed to: size.
At times, Steamboat was able to trot out a lineup filled with height, something the Sailors haven't been able to do the past couple of years.
"We really started off just as you'd expect a young team that hasn't played together. We had lots of mistakes," DeWolfe said. "We started getting into it and started doing some things and before you know it, we were hard to beat."
DeWolfe said at certain times, he was able to put a lineup on the floor of Nelson Brassell and Austin Hinder, who both stand 6-foot-5, as well as a pair of 6-3 players in Alex Wood and Jack Spady.
With that lineup, Steamboat was able to out-rebound every team it played.
Steamboat lost to Fort Morgan on the first day before rolling through the remainder of the tournament, including blasting Fort Morgan in the semifinals when the two teams played for a second time.
Steamboat also beat Bradshaw Mountain, Ariz.; Greeley Central; Rifle and Delta. "Nelson and Alex were just phenomenal," said DeWolfe, noting Wood shut down Bradshaw Mountain's 6-10 center when the two teams met in the tournament finals. "Especially Nelson showed his potential at the camp. He really was kind of the talk of the camp with how well he played. He showed his offensive skills and a lot of defensive things he's been working on."
Although DeWolfe was happy with how things went in his first organized event as head coach - "it went as well as I could have hoped," he said - he knows it still will take time for the team to gel before the season.
For the next three weeks, Steamboat will travel to Glenwood Springs on Fridays to play in an And 1 tournament. DeWolfe also will schedule scrimmages throughout the summer and continue to hold open gyms from 7 to 9 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
"After this weekend, I think everybody has a good frame of mind," DeWolfe said. "There's no selfish play or attitudes. Everybody right now has the goal to win basketball games."