Maybe in the past an ugly loss like Friday’s against Palisade would have derailed the Steamboat Springs High School girls basketball team.
But in the ongoing maturation of the Sailors squad, the Palisade loss did nothing to reroute Steamboat.
Actually, it only seemed to wake the team up.
Playing as crisply as the team has all year, Steamboat glided past Delta on Saturday, picking up an easy 46-30 win.
“It was a lot different,” Steamboat coach John Ameen said. “That’s what happens when you show up to play on both ends of the court. It makes a lot of difference. It was night and day in our execution.”
It certainly was. A night after committing 25 turnovers, the Sailors had just 14 on Saturday.
The errant passes inside were nonexistent, and senior Colleen King had one of her best prep basketball games.
King poured in 25 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and blocked five shots.
“We were all pissed after” Friday, King said. “We thought about it all night long and woke up still thinking about it. We came out and did what we were going to do. We all stepped up and did our parts.”
The Sailors (13-5 overall and 8-2 in league play) opened up the game in the first quarter, taking an 18-8 lead. But the Panthers bounced back and started the second on a 13-2 run to take their only lead of the game at 21-20.
“I’m proud of the way we bounced back,” Ameen said. “We had a stretch in the second quarter where we were not playing well. But as the half went on, we kept playing our game. It was great to see them bounce back like that.”
Steamboat outscored Delta, 13-5, in the third quarter to take a 35-26 lead and put the game away.
The biggest difference for Steamboat came in its execution. After allowing the Panthers to shoot 45 percent in the first half, the Sailors knocked that down to just 14 percent in the second half.
Offensively, Steamboat was equally good in the second half, shooting 50 percent from the field.
In addition to King, Tara Spitellie scored 12 points, all coming from behind the 3-point line.
Steamboat next plays at 2 p.m. Thursday at the Pepsi Center in Denver against Rifle — the top team in the league.
“That’s a game,” King said, “that we’ve thought about since we lost to them.”
Early deficit against Delta too much for Sailors boys
A new team has entered the fray in the battle for the Western Slope League championship.
Using a sleek inside game and rebounding as well as any team has against Steamboat, Delta came away with a 64-58 win Saturday.
It’s the first time in four years a league opponent has beaten Steamboat at home.
“A lot of people forget about us and think we’re the underdogs,” said Panthers forward Phillip Decker, who finished with 25 points and was 13 of 14 from the free-throw line, also grabbing 13 rebounds. “We’re strong this year.”
The Panthers won’t be perceived as underdogs anymore. Delta used a big first half and a huge stretch down the fourth quarter to get the win.
Steamboat, now 11-7 and 8-2, sits behind undefeated Glenwood Springs in the league race. Delta’s now just a game behind Steamboat with a 7-3 record in league.
“We can’t feel bad for very long,” Steamboat coach Luke DeWolfe said. “It’s not fun to lose, but you have to keep going. These guys know that.”
In what seems to be a recurring theme, a slow start was simply too much for Steamboat to overcome.
Delta jumped out to an 18-10 first-quarter lead and had extended it to 31-15 with 3 minutes, 13 seconds left in the second quarter.
That’s when the Sailors finally started to play.
Steamboat cut the Delta lead to 33-25 at halftime and had the score knotted at 43 going into the fourth quarter.
“Our thought is it’s tied up 0-0,” Decker said. “We wanted to play our hardest and take it to them.”
Thanks to Decker, Delta started to run away from Steamboat.
The senior and former hoop shoot free-throw contest winner scored 12 points in the final frame, including going 6 of 6 from the free-throw line.
“All night long, it was trying to crawl back from the hole we dug in the first quarter,” DeWolfe said. “That’s tough to do against a team that’s shooting well and is that physical. We just couldn’t do it tonight.
“But if we can put 32 minutes together, I’m convinced we can compete with most teams in the state. But right now, that seems to be our biggest hurdle.”
Charles Wood led Steamboat with 22 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. Isiah Forsyth chipped in 14 points.
The boys next play at 3:30 p.m. Thursday at the Pepsi Center in Denver against Rifle.