Delta trounces Steamboat boys basketball

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— The game plan was to slow it down.

Then an old nemesis came back and turned it into a track meet.

The Steamboat Springs High School boys basketball team continued to struggle with turnovers, and Delta took advantage and ran to a 54-44 win Saturday.

The game was tied at 25 at the half when Delta’s press created four straight Steamboat turnovers to begin the third quarter. The Panthers went on an 8-0 run to take a 33-25 lead, and the Sailors never could close the gap.

“Like I told these guys, (turnovers) hamstring us right from the beginning of the game,” said Steamboat coach Luke DeWolfe, who saw his team turn the ball more than 20 times. “It’s tough to overcome that. Good teams turn those turnovers into points. It’s been consistently a problem. Now it’s something — we’ve tried some things to fix it. Now we have to be more drastic and move some personnel around.”

The loss certainly will make things harder for Steamboat as the Western Slope League season nears the halfway mark.

The Sailors needed to split with Palisade and Delta to remain in the upper echelon of the league.

But after two straight losses, in similar fashion where the Sailors struggled with pressure, Steamboat finds itself in the unfamiliar position of looking up at the league.

The two teams battled from the beginning, neither taking more than a six-point lead in the first half.

With the score knotted at 25 to open the third, Delta came out the clearly more prepared team.

“Most nights, playing at a faster tempo helps us,” said Delta coach Von Mitchell, whose team turned a tied game into an eight-point game within two minutes. “That game, even though it wasn’t the highest scoring game, we were able to press and run the way we like to play.”

Steamboat would close to 42-39 with 5 minutes, 27 seconds left in the game but never could get any closer.

Jake Miller led the Sailors with 16 points, and Justin Ditter added 10.

The loss leaves Steamboat at 6-9 overall and 2-3 in the league, and the Sailors will need help getting back into the playoff race.

The Sailors trail Palisade, Eagle Valley and Delta.

“It’s frustrating,” Steamboat’s Kit Croop said. “We had a game plan. We wanted to slow them down, but we just fell into their game. We’re trying to control the tempo and ball and make them play our style and turnovers got us.”

Steamboat next plays at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Moffat County.

By the numbers

Delta boys 54, Steamboat 44

Delta 12-13-14-15 — 54

Steamboat 11-14-08-11 — 44

Delta: Chris Black 4 0-0 8, Ethan Baier 2 3-4 7, Colin Fraser 3 4-7 11, Kenny Wood 6 2-4 17, Blake Velasquez 2 1-4 5, Mitchell Whiteside 2 0-0 4, Taylor Smith 1 0-0 2, Douglas Hawkins 0 0-2 0. Totals 20 10-21 54

Steamboat: Justin Ditter 5 0-0 10, Carter Kounovsky 2 0-0 6, Kit Croop 4 0-0 10, Eric Trousil 0 2-2 2, Jake Miller 7 2-4 16, Robby Davis 0 0-0 0, Ben Custer 0 0-0 0, Zach Dunklin 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 4-6 44.

3-pointers: Delta (4) — Wood 3, Fraser. Steamboat (4) — Kounovsky 2, Croop 2.

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

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