Final quarter dooms girls basketball team

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Steamboat Springs girls basketball, 2008-09

The Steamboat Springs High School girls basketball team had the game in hand.

The team had put together three of its best quarters of the season. But a porous and forgetful fourth quarter was too much, as Palisade overcame a double-digit deficit to win, 41-37, on Friday night.

"As well as we played the first three quarters, it just went the total opposite way," Steamboat coach John Ameen said. "We rushed shots when we didn't need to. We started getting beat down the floor in transition. Everything we did right in first three, it just totally went opposite in the final quarter. It didn't get turned around on either end. It broke down totally on both ends."

The Sailors (4-7 overall, 1-2 in the Western Slope League) entered the fourth quarter with a 32-19 lead. They had held the Bulldogs in check for most of the night and limited Palisade's leading scorer, Holly Odneal, to one point.

But Steamboat started to struggle on both ends. The Sailors committed 13 fourth quarter turnovers and shot just 1 of 13 from the field. Palisade started the quarter on a 13-2 run to close the gap to 34-32 with 3:36 to go in the game. After a free throw by Sarah Hays, Palisade took its first lead since the 3:36 mark of the first quarter on a bucket by Odneal.

"I told them 'We need to get over the hump and start playing better defense and that will help our offense,'" Palisade coach Toni Gunther said. "We're still learning that and we need to put four quarters together. But we finally got some shots to fall."

Steamboat tied the game at 36 on two free throws by Brittany Long, but a bucket by Hays and three more free throws put the game away.

"You've got to have a mentality of putting teams away," Ameen said. "If you have a 13-point lead, you have to want to extend that to 17, 19 or 20. It's not giving them a chance to get back into it. It's saying 'We're not going to let this happen.'"

Steamboat initially looked like it would run away with the game. The Sailors took a 10-7 first quarter lead and built it to 22-13 at halftime. The two teams traded baskets in the third quarter, before the Sailors faltered in the fourth.

Gracie Stockdale led Steamboat with 10 points. Lindsey Yost and Hannah Moore each had five. Hays led all scorers with 13 points, and Meghan Peters had 10.

Steamboat continues action at 4 p.m. today at home against Delta.

Ameen said while Friday's game will be tough to get over, the Sailors have to look at their first three quarters of work and build on that.

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