Edwards Steamboat Springs boys basketball entered Friday night’s Western Slope opener at Battle Mountain as the league favorite, and the Sailors left Edwards still the favorite.
But it’s going to be a bumpy ride for all involved in the Slope.
Steamboat overcame a 16-8 first-quarter deficit and needed a 13-3 run in the fourth quarter to shake off a better-than-expected Battle Mountain squad for a 55-43 win.
“I was really happy. I knew that was there,” Steamboat coach Luke DeWolfe said. “It was just a matter of it coming to the surface a little bit and guys responding to the situation. It was just a matter of regaining our focus. You’ve got to give Battle Mountain credit: They were good. They came out hungry. They came out fired up.”
DeWolfe credited his senior backcourt of Isiah Forsyth and Charles Wood for leading the charge, and the coach was right to do so. Forsyth gave the Sailors the lead for good at 38-36 with 6:48 to go. Wood had Steamboat’s next three buckets on his way to a team-high 15 points.
Forsyth added another layup, and then Jack Spady inserted the dagger with a 3-pointer to move the Sailors to 4-5 overall and 1-0 in the Slope.
For the Huskies, it was a bitter pill to swallow, but they showed themselves to be a much-improved team from last season. Point guard Robert Weiss slashed his way to 14 points, and Parker Lathrop was a threat outside with 10. Miguel Copas also was in double digits with 11.
Turnovers — with most of the team’s 19 coming in the second half — did in Battle Mountain (4-3, 0-1).
“I think the guys showed Steamboat and probably the rest of the league we’re going to be somebody to be reckoned with,” Battle Mountain coach Tommy Padilla said. “We’re not going to lay over and fold. We just have to learn to finish at the end.”
Steamboat is at home today for Eagle Valley, and Battle Mountain heads to Moffat County.
Sailors girls win easily against Battle Mountain
The Steamboat Springs girls basketball team opened with a 16-1 run in the first quarter and never looked back with a 53-19 win Friday night.
The Sailors’ Colleen King scored her team’s first eight points on the way to a game-high 16. Tara Spitellie had three 3-pointers as a part of her 11, and the Sailors won their Western Slope opener.
“We obviously want wins, but we want wins the right way,” Steamboat coach John Ameen said. “We want it with good execution, good intensity, good defense. We did that for the most part, especially in the first half. We always need to improve, but this is a good way to open for us.”
Battle Mountain continued with its struggles, particularly on the offensive end.
“We just couldn’t make a shot,” Huskies coach Andrew Schmid said. “That was the bottom line. One point in the first quarter and two in the third, you’re not going to win the ball game. I thought we did a pretty good job. I thought we played well. We held them to 53 (points). If we could have answered and valued every possession we had, it would have been a different ball game.”
Gabby Munguia led Battle Mountain with seven points.
Hayden girls basketball returns with 68-42 win
The Hayden High School girls basketball team had little trouble Friday night as it returned to action after the long winter break. The Tigers easily dismissed West Grand, 68-42.
“We played really well,” coach Eric Hamilton said.
A big first quarter helped Hayden to the victory.
“We came right out at them,” Hamilton said. “We had our best start of the year. We put the press on them right, and the girls just played tough and as a team. They were as sharp as ever.”
Rachael Koehler and Erin Koehler each scored 12 points, and Delanie VeDepo and Kyra Rolando each added 10.
The Tigers return to the court at 4:30 p.m. today at home against Plateau Valley.
Tigers boys survive West Grand with 39-32 victory
The Hayden boys basketball team was sharp, effective and efficient in a big first half against West Grand on Friday night. Fortunately for the Tigers, those 16 quality minutes were enough to overpower 16 terrible minutes of second-half basketball.
Hayden beat West Grand, 39-32, but coach Mike Luppes said it was not a game he’d like his team to model its season on.
“We won an ugly one,” he said.
His team took a 25-10 lead into the halftime break, but scored just 14 points in the second half. Murphy Smartt was saddled with foul trouble throughout the game, and West Grand managed to marginalize point guard Graig Medvesk with a box-and-one defense.
Still, Smartt led the team with 18 points. Rene Valdez grabbed 14 rebounds, and Ben Williams had 10 boards and nine points.
“In the first half, we were good defensively and good rebounding. We ran the floor well and got good shots out of our offense,” Luppes said. “In the second, it was like we lost our pizzazz.”
The team plays at 6 p.m. today against Plateau Valley at home.
“We need to keep a consistent tempo and intensity level throughout the entire game,” Luppes said. “We’re going to have to do that to come out with a win.”
— Joel Reichenberger contributed to this story