Sports briefs: Steamboat Springs girls fall to tough Gillette team

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— There wasn’t much of a question what the Steamboat Springs High School girls basketball team was up against Saturday at the final day of the Flaming Gorge Classic basketball tournament in Green River, Wyo.

There, Steamboat encountered Wyoming’s Class 4A defending state champions in Gillette, Wyo.

Gillette showed why it is in the conversation to win another state title by downing Steamboat, 61-29.

Steamboat, 5-3, struggled in the first half, finding itself down 35-13.

“They’re perennially a state final four or two team,” Steamboat coach John Ameen said. “They’re a school that’s essentially a 5A school, that hands it to top 5A Denver schools. I wasn’t unhappy about the way we played and the way we did some things. They are a superior team. But we did some good things.”

The Sailors played tough in the second half, and Ameen said he was pleased with the team’s 2-3 defense, its offensive execution and its ability to not give up.

Colleen King led the Sailors with 11 points, and Hannah Moore chipped in nine.

Steamboat now is off for the holiday break and opens Western Slope League play Jan. 8.

Until then, Ameen said the focus would be getting Tara Spitellie, Emi Birch and King fully healthy.

Despite going 1-2 at the tournament, Ameen said he was generally happy with the way the Sailors played.

“Going up there, your weaknesses are exposed a lot more with just the way they play,” he said. “They’re physical, quick, and it’s just a different type of basketball than we’re used to playing against.”

Steamboat boys go 0-3 at Wyoming tournament

In the long run, Steamboat Springs High School boys basketball coach Luke DeWolfe knows the Flaming Gorge Classic basketball tournament in Green River, Wyo., will undoubtedly help his team.

So despite going 0-3, including Saturday’s 60-35 loss to Evanston, Wyo., the second-year coach remained upbeat.

“The main thing for us is we’re a much better team coming out of it than going in,” DeWolfe said. “We’re road-tested a little bit. That will go far once we get in league. We won’t see teams this good until we get in the state playoffs.”

Saturday, against an Evanston team that gave Wyoming’s No. 1 team Gillette everything it wanted Friday, Steamboat couldn’t ever get anything going.

The Sailors had early looks in the first quarter, but a cold shooting touch came at the wrong time.

“We got good looks in the first half and just didn’t finish shots,” he said. “We just couldn’t finish. A lot of that is good defense around the basket.”

One positive out of Saturday was that Steamboat showed it could play a man-to-man defense. After playing a 2-3 zone for good parts of the season, Steamboat’s man defense had some success against Evanston.

But Evanston was too big, too deep and too strong to really be in trouble.

Junior Charles Wood led the Sailors with 18 points.

DeWolfe said the team would use the next three weeks to work on getting better before Western Slope League play begins Jan. 8.

“I think we try and really stress — and our kids know — is we could line our schedule with teams we could beat and our record would look better on paper,” DeWolfe said. “But we wouldn’t be the team we’ll be in the long run.”

Tiger boys outlast Green River, 57-53, at tourney

The Hayden boys basketball team closed out its three-game trip to the Flaming Gorge Classic in Wyoming on Saturday with a 57-53 victory against the host, Green River.

Graig Medvesk scored 20, and Murphy Smartt had 16 as the Tigers clung to a small lead through the fourth quarter.

“It was a good, fun game between two evenly matched teams, and we were lucky enough to come out on top,” Hayden coach Mike Luppes said.

The win made Hayden 2-1 on the weekend, a mark the team was thrilled with in the face of the field’s stiff competition and large Wyoming schools.

Rene Valdez scored 12, and Ben Williams had eight points.

Valdez also helped lead in the rebounding efforts, where Hayden ended with a huge advantage. Both he and Smartt grabbed 11. Smartt also had six blocked shots.

“Murphy had a real good game,” Luppes said. “We were able to push the ball some and break their press, so Graig and Ben did a great job with that.

“If you had told me before that tournament that we’d finish 2-1, I’d have been pretty happy. We were able to see some different teams and some different competition, and hopefully we learned our lessons.”

Comeback not enough for Hayden girls at Classic

It didn’t seem that the Hayden girls basketball team had much of a chance to win Saturday’s final game in the Flaming Gorge Classic come halftime against Star Valley.

The Tigers trailed, 23-5, and didn’t seem to be able to get anything done against a stout defense.

And the team didn’t win, falling, 43-28. But Hayden coach Eric Hamilton said the way his team played in the second half has him optimistic, even after a 1-2 showing in the three-game event.

“We started moving the ball better and fired up some outside shots,” he said. “It was all pretty good. Star Valley, they were a heck of a ball team. They were just awesome.”

At one point in the fourth quarter, the Tigers pulled within eight. Star Valley opened the game up again with a 10-0 run.

Hayden was led by senior Rachael Koehler, who finished with nine points. Sam Huffar and Delanie Vedepo had five.

“We really got better over this tournament, even though we came out of it 1-2,” Hamilton said. “We played some big-time basketball teams.”

Sailors hockey game postponed

Saturday’s Steamboat Springs High School hockey game at Chatfield was postponed after a compressor at the rink failed, and the ice couldn’t stay frozen. Details about when the game will be rescheduled could be available Monday.

The game will be after the holiday season.

Steamboat enters the break at 3-1-2.

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