Steamboat Springs High School girls basketball player Colleen King, shown in January’s game against Moffat County, returns to the Sailors squad this year. The team is hoping to take the league title this year.

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Steamboat Springs High School girls basketball player Colleen King, shown in January’s game against Moffat County, returns to the Sailors squad this year. The team is hoping to take the league title this year.

Sailors girls basketball eyes league title

Steamboat team sees opportunity after 7-15 season

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Sailors girls schedule

Today: 6 p.m. at Brenda Patch Tournament vs. Roaring Fork

Saturday: 8:30 a.m. at Brenda Patch Tournament vs. Basalt

Dec. 10 to 12: TBA host Steamboat Shootout Tournament

Dec. 17 to 19: TBA at Green River, Wyo., Tournament

Jan. 8: 6 p.m. at Battle Mountain

Jan. 9: 4 p.m. vs. Eagle Valley

Jan. 15: 6 p.m. at Delta

Jan. 16: 4 p.m. at Palisade

Jan. 22: 6 p.m. vs. Rifle

Jan. 23: 4 p.m. at Glenwood Springs

Jan. 26: 6 p.m. vs. Moffat County

Jan. 29: 6 p.m. at Eagle Valley

Feb. 5: 6 p.m. vs. Palisade

Feb. 6: 4 p.m. vs. Delta

Feb. 11: 2 p.m. at Rifle

Feb. 13: 4 p.m. vs. Glenwood Springs

Feb. 16: 6 p.m. at Moffat County

Feb. 19: 6 p.m. vs. Battle Mountain

— If the reward is indeed worth the effort, the Steamboat Springs High School girls basketball team feels like it’s in a position to do something special this season.

With a quick glance at what most other Western Slope Lea­gue teams lost to graduation and a look at what Steamboat brings back, it’s safe to say the Sailors should be in the thick of the league title hunt.

“We’ve talked about that a lot,” said fourth-year coach John Ameen. “We’re trying to get to a point where we can compete at that level. It’s making that next step competing at that level where those losses become wins.”

Steamboat, 7-15 overall last year, was on the brink of winning a good portion of its league games last season.

Although the Sailors were 4-10 in the league, they let late leads slip away in more than half of those losses.

Save for two big defeats at the end of the season to top league teams Glenwood Springs and Moffat County, Steamboat’s other eight league losses were by 7.3 points per game.

“The league is wide open this year,” returning starter Colleen King said. “This year, we have the best shot of any year. I think this year it actually is our best shot. This year we have a program established. We know all our sets and plays.”

Along with King at a forward position, Ameen said he expects contributions from Tara Spitellie, Emi Birch, Megan Rae, Hannah Moore, Matthia Duryea and Lindsey Yost.

All those girls have experience, but it might be Moore who could mean the most for Steamboat.

The junior provided scoring punch off the bench last season and will be asked to step into the starting lineup this season.

With leading scorer Gracie Stockdale transferring before the year began, Moore will be asked to score more and provide guard depth.

“I definitely think my role is bigger,” Moore said. “I feel like I’m going to be more of a scorer. That’s what I’ve been working hard to be. Part of me wants to step up into a leadership role, but I have to work into that.”

Steamboat should get plenty of early tests with a tournament that begins today in Roar­ing Fork, hosting the Steam­boat Shootout and traveling to Green River, Wyo., for a tournament.

With the coaching staff in its fourth year and most of the girls having been working out for months, Ameen said when the team hits the floor today, it should be much improved from years past.

“We haven’t had to implement anything new,” he said. “We’re definitely in a season form instead of a preseason form. At this point, we’re really confident in our sets and defensive schemes.”

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