Steamboat Springs High School senior Randall Nelson struggles to keep control of the ball during Wednesday night’s game against Niwot.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Steamboat Springs High School senior Randall Nelson struggles to keep control of the ball during Wednesday night’s game against Niwot.

Steamboat boys basketball falls to Niwot

Sailors lose home opener, 68-41

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Game statistics

Niwot 68, Steamboat 41

Niwot 15-20-17-16 — 68

Steamboat 8-15-6-12 — 41

Niwot — James Hong 2 0-0 6, Michael Ogez 5 0-0 13, Sam Forrer 9 1-1 19, Cody Heimann 4 2-2 12, Alex Kicera 1 0-0 3, Henry Sebesta 3 1-2 7, Taylor Kloepfer 3 2-2 8, Andy Wegleitner 0 0-0 0, Alex Jansen 0 0-0 0.

Steamboat — Isiah Forsyth 5 2-6 13, Randall Nelson 3 2-2 8, Justin Anderson 3 0-0 9, Eric Trousil 1 0-0 2, Charles Wood 1 3-6 6, Ryan Hall 0 0-0 0, Hondo Anderson 0 0-0 0, Jake Miller 1 0-0 2, Kit Croop 0 1-2 1.

3-pointers: Niwot (8) — Ogez 3, Hong 2, Heimann 2, Kicera. Steamboat (5) — Anderson 3, Forsyth, Wood.

— Going into Wednesday’s season-opening game, the Steamboat Springs High School boys basketball team’s biggest concerns seemed to be defense and rebounding.

After Niwot ran away with a 68-41 win, in a game that never was close, Steamboat’s biggest concern has changed to the offensive end.

The Steamboat boys shot 32 percent from the field, shot 50 percent from the free-throw line and had 21 turnovers.

“We couldn’t score,” Steam­boat’s Charles Wood said. “That absolutely killed us.”

Steamboat’s ineffectiveness and lack of execution never allowed the Sailors to get into much of a rhythm, but it helped Niwot.

The Cougars, under first-year coach Travis Maron, displayed athleticism and a stable of scorers.

Up just 15-8 after one quarter, Niwot took control in the second. The Cougars hit four of seven 3-pointers in the quarter and made seven of 13 shots total to break the game open in the first half, taking a 35-23 first-half lead.

“I think we just settled in,” Maron said. “The nerves, the first game and everything else. We were sitting there for a long time and then we finally settled in.”

Niwot started to extend its lead in the third quarter, leading by as much as 52-27, before Steamboat hit its lone prolonged run.

Down 52-29, Steamboat scored six straight points to cut the lead to 52-35 with 5 minutes, 37 seconds left in the fourth quarter. But from there, Steamboat reverted to earlier form, missing easy shots and turning the ball over.

“Too many turnovers,” Steamboat coach Luke De­­Wolfe said. “That goes back to the shooting issues we had in terms of just taking the shot instead of making one more pass. It’s knowing when you’re open and knocking down the shot.”

Isiah Forsyth paced the Sailors with 13 points and six assists. Niwot’s Sam Forrer led all scorers with 19 points, and Michael Ogez added 13.

Steamboat (0-1) has little time to dwell on the loss. The team travels to Roaring Fork for Friday and Saturday’s Brenda Patch Tournament.

Steamboat opens the tournament at 8 p.m. Friday against Roaring Fork.

“For us it’s mostly a matter of having confidence more than anything else,” DeWolfe said. “There were times tonight where we were just unsure. Give credit to their defense. That pressure created uncertainty in our shots. Whether it’s first-game jitters or inexperience, it’s something we need to work on.”

— To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229 or e-mail lgraham@steamboatpilot.com

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