Steamboat boys pick up a 53-20 win against Battle Mountain

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— Statistics are easily manipulated.

This one, however, is not.

The Steamboat Springs High School boys basketball team held Battle Mountain to one field goal from the field and three points in the first half en route to a 53-20 win Friday.

“In order for us to be successful, we have to play defense like that,” Steamboat coach Luke DeWolfe said. “We’re never going to be an offensive juggernaut. We have to establish ourselves defensively.”

That started right from the first quarter Friday night. Employing a matchup zone defense, Steamboat simply stifled Battle Mountain.

Led by Kit Croop up at the top of the zone — the senior had seven steals and deflected countless others — the Sailors forced eight early Huskies turnovers in running out to a 15-1 first-quarter lead.

“It was totally them,” Huskies coach Tommy Padilla said. “Their defensive pressure is awesome. They’re aggressive and smart, and it’s a defensive team. They turned their defense into offense. We couldn’t do anything.”

Steamboat continued to pour it on in the second quarter, at one point taking a 29-1 lead, before extending it to 31-3 at the half. The Huskies had much better success to begin the third quarter, extending the Sailors defense, but the early struggles were too much.

“It’s learning to execute,” Padilla said. “We’re starting but we’re not there yet.”

Steamboat had eight players score, led by senior Jake Miller’s game-high 19 points. Justin Ditter had eight points, and Carter Kounovsky had seven.

Jerry Carrasco led the Huskies with six points.

Battle Mountain (5-7) resumes play at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at home against Moffat County. Steamboat (6-6) plays at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Eagle Valley.

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

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