Steamboat girls fall to Eagle Valley

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Steamboat Springs girls basketball, 2008-09

— Eagle Valley girls basketball coach Ken Reagan knew a halftime lead wasn't safe.

The Devils coach has seen his team lead three times at the break this season, only to lose.

So when Steamboat Springs High School started closing the gap in the second half, Reagan reminded his team to slow down.

The strategy worked, as Eagle Valley outlasted Steamboat, 41-39, on Saturday in the Kelly Meek Gymnasium.

"It's huge," Reagan said. "We talked about it all season. It's the main thing we talked about and wanted to change in league play."

Despite scoring just 12 points in the second half, Eagle Valley got the biggest basket of the game from sophomore Mikaela Nevin, with 15 seconds.

With the score tied at 39, Nevin knifed through the lane, made a 10-footer and was fouled for a 41-39 lead. Although Nevin missed the free throw, Eagle Valley ratcheted down on defense and forced a Steamboat turnover with four seconds remaining.

"We settled for outside shots too much," Steamboat coach John Ameen said. "When they are going in, it's a wonderful thing. But when they're not, we have to get inside touches."

Eagle Valley initially looked as though it would run away with the game. The Devils jumped out to a 9-3 lead in the first quarter behind the play of Nevin and Kacey Bair.

The Devils pushed their lead to 29-18 with 1:01 remaining in the first half before the Sailors started to find a rhythm.

Steamboat (4-6 overall, 1-1 in league play) closed the half on a 5-0 run to cut the lead to 29-23.

The Sailors had every opportunity to take control of the game in the third quarter. Steamboat limited Eagle Valley to one basket from the field in the quarter and created eight turnovers.

But the Sailors shot 4 of 19 from the field in the quarter and only could cut the margin to 33-32 heading into the final frame.

"I think we just got a little excited," Reagan said. "That's been a thing with this team; we have some lapses and try to do too much with the ball. But they came down and capitalized. That's what kept them in it."

Eagle Valley extended its lead to 39-34 with 3:45 left in the fourth quarter, before Steamboat's Gracie Stockdale hit a 3-pointer to bring the Sailors within 39-37. Brittany Long tied it up for Steamboat with 1:04 remaining before Nevin's game-winner.

Nevin paced the Devils with 13 points, while Colleen King led the Sailors with 16.

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