Hoopster boys, girls hit the road this weekend

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Steamboat Springs boys basketball, 2008-09

Steamboat Springs girls basketball, 2008-09

— The product of winning for the Steamboat Springs High School boys basketball team means there are newfound expectations.

The Sailors entered the Rocky Mountain News basketball polls for the first time all season this week, coming in at No. 7 in Class 4A.

The team also holds a 38-game winning streak in league play and sits atop the Western Slope League standings with an 11-5 overall record and an 8-0 mark in league.

But with those expectations also comes the fact that from here on out, Steamboat will get every team's best shot.

That starts at 7:30 p.m. today when Steamboat travels to Palisade. The team then plays at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Delta.

"I just think we have to keep the mentality that teams are always going to give us their best effort, and the teams we play aren't the same teams we played before. They're better," Steamboat coach Luke DeWolfe said. "We just have to be ready. If we want a league title or a shot at a league title, we need to make sure we win and compete in every game we play."

Steamboat beat Palisade, 78-46, and Delta, 66-37, earlier this year. In both games, Steamboat shot better than 50 percent from the field.

DeWolfe said the first goal of the weekend will be to get two wins and that after that, he'd like to start establishing a little bit of depth.

"There's always opportunities to grow and get better," he said "Especially for our young team. We need to hone in and focus in on some of the small things. Polish our skills and framework for later on."

Girls look to bounce back

Although Steamboat Springs girls basketball coach John Ameen wouldn't necessarily call today's game at Palisade or Saturday's game at Delta must-wins, the third-year coach knows how critical they are.

Ameen knows that if his team wants to make the playoffs and make a statement in the league, it has to start with the 6 p.m. game today at Palisade. The team then plays at 4 p.m. Saturday at Delta.

"This weekend, we want to get back into the last time we played them," Ameen said. "We got one out of two, when it should have been two out of two. We're making some adjustments that will help, but it's just playing with confidence."

Steamboat lost to Palisade, 41-37, earlier this year, before beating Delta, 51-42. In the Palisade game, Steamboat held a double-digit lead heading into the fourth quarter, before faltering down the stretch.

Ameen said the focus of the second half of the season will be on learning to win. Although Steamboat is just 5-10 overall and 2-5 in the league, the Sailors have every shot of turning things around the second half of the league season.

"We still got a shot at the playoffs and still got a shot at making a statement in the league," Ameen said. "I think they were a little down after the Moffat game, but we're still confident."

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