Monday, February 22, 2010
Steamboat Springs Big plans were laid out by the Steamboat Springs High School girls basketball team before the season even started.
The squad hoped to qualify for the season-ending, Class 4A state tournament and earn a home game in the first round of the massive, 44-team affair.
On Sunday afternoon, Steamboat coach John Ameen, speaking with a friend at the Denver bracket release event, learned that his squad wouldn’t, in fact, get the chance it had so coveted.
No, Steamboat won’t host a first-round game — because the team is too good. The Sailors are a No. 4 seed and earned an opening-round bye. They won’t play until Friday, against the winner of a game between Wheat Ridge and Silver Creek.
“We’ve come a long way,” Ameen said after hearing the news. “We really wanted a home playoff game. That would have been great, but knowing we have a bye and knowing we’re one of the top 16 seeds in the tournament is very exciting.”
Steamboat won’t find out its tournament-opening opponent until Tuesday night. In the meantime, Ameen said, the squad will have to prepare for a wide range of possibilities.
Wheat Ridge hosts Tuesday’s game against Silver Creek. With a 16-6 record, Wheat Ridge was third in the Jefferson County league and earned a No. 5 seed. Silver Creek, meanwhile, finished 10-13 and is a 12th seed out of the Northern League.
The bye eliminates the chance for Steamboat to host a game at all. No matter whom the Sailors play, the game will be Friday night in Broomfield.
“That we got a bye shows that the selection committee knows that there is good basketball played up here,” Ameen said. “It’s a testimony to how hard the girls have been playing and how much they’ve improved.”
Boys face a challenge
Steamboat’s boys basketball team is a No. 8 seed in the tournament and will play Tuesday at home against Wasson High School, a No. 9 seed with a 10-11 record and a seventh-place finish in the Colorado Springs metro league.
A tentative time for the game is 7 p.m.
A win Tuesday would cast the 14-8 Sailors into a tough game at No. 1 seed Longmont, which finished the regular season at 21-2.
“We’ll have to play solid, disciplined defense and make sure we take care of the basketball,” Sailors coach Luke DeWolfe said.
He said a No. 8 seed could prove a motivating factor for his team.
“The strength of our league hasn’t been very good in recent years, so it never seems like we get much respect,” DeWolfe said. “We have the best record of the No. 8 seeds by quite a bit. But the boys can use that and can go out there and show that we belong.”
Other No. 8 seeds in the boys Class 4A tournament are Golden at 13-10, Berthoud at 12-11 and Silver Creek at 11-12.
— To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 871-4253 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org