Sailors boys lacrosse to host playoff game against Rock Canyon

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— There is a ringing familiarity to playoff lacrosse in Steamboat Springs.

For the third straight year, the Colorado High School Activities Association awarded the Steamboat Springs High School boys lacrosse team the No. 16 seed and a first-round home playoff game. Steamboat will play 17th-seeded Rock Canyon, a team that beat the Sailors this season, 11-7.

“I think it’s fine,” Steamboat coach Bob Hiester said. “I thought all along we’d end up playing someone we’ve already played. I think that’s a good one for us.”

The game is tentatively scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Gardner Field.

The top eight seeds of 24 get a first-round bye, with the remaining 16 teams matching up in first-round games.

The second round is reseeded with the No. 1 team — this year Regis Jesuit — playing the lowest remaining seed.

The past two years, the winner of the 16-17 game has played the No. 3 seed in the playoffs. This year’s No. 3 seed is Wheat Ridge.

In Steamboat and Rock Canyon’s first meeting March 26, the Jaguars jumped out to a 4-1 first-quarter lead, a 6-2 halftime lead and a 9-3 lead after three quarters. Steamboat scored four fourth-quarter goals to get back into the game.

The game was originally scheduled for Steamboat, but because of transportation problems, the game was moved to Rock Canyon.

Playing at home is “a big one for us,” Hiester said. “It’s a three- or four-hour bus ride to go play them. That will turn that around, and we play well at home.”

Two years ago in its first playoff appearance, Steamboat lost, 16-11, to Lewis-Palmer. Last year, Steamboat lost, 10-9, to Fairview.

It’s hard to tell what the earlier game against Rock Canyon means. It was early in the season for Steamboat, and the slow start in the game partially can be attributed to the bus ride before the game.

Steamboat, however, went 0-6 against Front Range teams this year and was outscored, 53-40. But take out the first two games, against Mountain Vista and Rock Canyon, and the Sailors lost to Front Range teams by an average score of 8.75-7.5. Of the six Front Range teams Steamboat played, five qualified for the playoffs.

“We’ve come a long ways,” Hiester said. “The caliber of the competition is much improved. We’ll look at the tape and see the places we need to work on. We’ll look at where they hurt us and where we hurt ourselves.”

Rock Canyon comes in having lost two of three. The team is ranked No. 11 in the www.laxpower.com polls and was ranked for much of the year in The Denver Post polls, reaching as high as No. 8.

The Jaguars are led by Wilkins Dismuke. The sophomore attackman has been a terror all season, racking up 60 goals and 96 points. In the game against Steamboat, he scored four goals and added four assists.

Still, this Steamboat team claimed that its goal before the season wasn’t just getting to the playoffs but winning a playoff game for the first time in school history.

“Right now, no question,” Hiester said. “This is the next big challenge for us. We have to gear up and get ourselves over that hump.”

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com

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