Steamboat Springs High School basketball coach Luke DeWolfe, center, shows his players pictures of their Skyline opponents, whom they will play at 7 p.m. tonight at home in the first round of the postseason tournament.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Steamboat Springs High School basketball coach Luke DeWolfe, center, shows his players pictures of their Skyline opponents, whom they will play at 7 p.m. tonight at home in the first round of the postseason tournament.

Brassell, Alex Wood in spotlight as Steamboat boys host basketball playoff

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Steamboat Basketball playoffs

The Steamboat Springs High School boys basketball team will take on Skyline at 7 p.m. Wednesday at home.

The Steamboat Springs High School boys basketball team will take on Skyline at 7 p.m. Wednesday at home.

Past Event

No. 6 Steamboat Springs vs. No. 10 Skyline

  • Wednesday, February 25, 2009, 7 p.m.
  • Steamboat Springs High School, 45 Maple St., Steamboat Springs
  • Not available / $5 - $6

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Steamboat Springs boys basketball, 2008-09

Steamboat Springs High School seniors Nelson Brassell and Alex Wood have seen a lot in their time playing basketball.

They've seen the longest win streak in the Western Slope League. They've seen two straight trips to the Sweet 16.

So as the two prepare for a 7 p.m. opening playoff game today in the Kelly Meek Gymnasium against 10th seeded Skyline, the two realize just how important their roles are, especially considering that when the two own the paint, Steamboat usually wins.

"It definitely starts inside-out for our team," Wood said. "It's been our motto most of the year. It's an easy way to get our shooters open. I think we have to come in with confidence because it's a one-game state championship every time in the playoffs."

Brassell's and Wood's roles have been huge all season.

In Steamboat's past two losses - close league games with Glenwood Springs and Moffat County - the two seniors struggled inside. In Steamboat's 12 league wins, the two put up big numbers.

"For us, (the key) is to make sure we rebound well and establish ourselves in the post," Steamboat coach Luke DeWolfe said. "If we defend well, it gives us a great opportunity to win."

Although Skyline comes in with just a 10-13 record, the team certainly poses a threat. The Falcons went 7-9 in the Class 4A Northern League, arguably the toughest league in the classification. For perspective, the Rocky Mountain News ranked five teams from the Northern League in the top 10.

The Falcons are led by a trio of guards, most notably Blaine Robinson, who has averaged more than 20 points a game on the season.

"He's going to get his points," Brassell said about Robinson. "But if we contain him, we'll have a better chance."

One advantage Steamboat will have is playing in the comforts of the Kelly Meek Gymnasium. The No. 6-seed Sailors went undefeated in league at home, and the Falcons come in just 1-11 in road games this year.

Although Steamboat is just 1-2 in its past three games, DeWolfe said the Sailors come in with confidence. He said he thinks Steamboat matches up well with Skyline's athleticism.

If Steamboat can defend and shoot like the team has at times this year, DeWolfe said he's confident the Sailors can win today and possibly make a run in the playoffs.

"I felt pretty good even in those losses," he said. "Now it's a matter of putting it together and seeing where it's going from there. I think if we get hot and have confidence anything could happen. We've said all year we can compete with any team in 4A if we're shooting well and defending well."

The winner of today's game plays Saturday at No. 2 Longmont. A time for that game has yet to be determined.

- To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229

or e-mail lgraham@steamboatpilot.com

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