Steamboat Springs High School's Justin Ditter drives down the court Thursday as the Sailors rolled over Conifer in the opening round of the Steamboat Springs Shoot-Out.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Steamboat Springs High School's Justin Ditter drives down the court Thursday as the Sailors rolled over Conifer in the opening round of the Steamboat Springs Shoot-Out.

Steamboat boys basketball advances to tourney semifinals

Boys roll over Conifer for Shoot-Out victory

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Steamboat's Enrique Lopez gets off a shot on Thursday against Conifer.

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Steamboat Springs High School senior Jake Miller rips down a rebound Thursday as the Sailors rolled over Conifer in the opening round of the Steamboat Springs Shoot-Out. Miller scored 22 points to help lead the team into a semifinal showdown today against D'Evelyn.

Results

Windsor 95, Moffat County 48

Montrose 72, Green River 59

Steamboat Springs 64, Conifer 41

D’Evelyn def. Castle View

— The Steamboat Springs High School boys basketball team didn't have long to recover. Still, coach Luke DeWolfe said his squad was able to take a step back after Monday's lopsided loss at Niwot and re-evaluate its strengths and weaknesses.

When the Sailors got back on the court Thursday, just 72 hours after the Niwot game, they seemed to have found plenty of answers.

Steamboat got up big in the second quarter playing at home against Conifer and it expanded that lead in the second half, waltzing to a 64-41 victory in the opening round of the Steamboat Springs Shoot-Out.

The win sets Steamboat in the semifinals at 8:15 p.m. Friday against D'Evelyn.

"We went back to the drawing board after Niwot, not starting over but re-emphasizing things that we had to get better on," Steamboat coach Luke DeWolfe said. "Tonight, our guys were open to criticism and took it well, and after those two days of practice, we were able to come out and get the win."

The difference for Steamboat, which scored just 29 points Monday, was ball movement. The Sailors whipped the ball around the court and seemed to be a step ahead of the defense all evening. Steamboat senior Jake Miller and junior Justin Ditter came up big, fielding passes as they crashed through the lane, open for easy layups.

Ditter was much improved after a rough Monday night, starting the offense and scoring clutch buckets by driving around Conifer's guards when he needed to. He finished with 22 points, tied for the team lead with Miller, who continued the strong post play that he's displayed early this season.

"We really stepped up," DeWolfe said. "He's really starting to understand that we need him to attack the basket. We need him to hit those middle range shots in order to open up our offense, so that we're not just one dimensional."

A 3-point shot from Conifer's Jimi Roennau helped keep the Lobos close early, but Steamboat began to blow the game open in the first minutes of the second quarter, turning a 14-8 first-quarter advantage into a 23-10 lead. Another Conifer trey at the end of the second quarter didn't have the same effect as the first, and the Sailors went into the second half with a 13-point lead. They opened it up even further then. Miller was fouled while scoring and he added the free throw for a 41-25 lead. He added two free throws to make it 51-28, and Enrique Lopez followed with two more to push the lead to 25.

The last half of the game was played as a crawl thanks to 54 fouls between the two teams. Conifer had four foul out. The Lobos never threatened a comeback, however, setting the stage for the Sailors' Shoot-Out semifinal game Friday. They'll have their hands full against the Jaguars, who blasted Castle View on Thursday night.

"We just had more team play," DeWolfe said. "Our strength isn't any individual on our team, its all of us together."

Friday's schedule

3 p.m.

Moffat County boys vs. Green River, new gym

Green River girls vs. D’Evelyn, auxiliary gym

4:45 p.m.

Steamboat Springs girls vs. Montrose, new gym

Conifer boys vs. Castle View, auxiliary gym

6:30 p.m.

Castle View girls vs. Windsor, new gym

Windsor boys vs. Montrose, auxiliary gym

8:15 p.m.

Steamboat Springs boys vs. D’Evelyn, new gym

Fossil Ridge girls vs. Moffat County, auxiliary gym

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com

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