Steamboat's Maddie Robertson rips a ball free Thursday during the first round of the Steamboat Springs Shoot-Out. The Sailors put up a valiant effort as they attempted to come back from a big deficit but fell just short, falling 44-42.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Steamboat's Maddie Robertson rips a ball free Thursday during the first round of the Steamboat Springs Shoot-Out. The Sailors put up a valiant effort as they attempted to come back from a big deficit but fell just short, falling 44-42.

4th-quarter comeback not enough for Sailors girls basketball

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— Turnovers, chaotic transition defense and ice-cold shooting dug Steamboat Springs High School girls basketball into a deep hole in its home-opener Thursday night, but that didn’t stop the Sailors from mounting a furious comeback.

Down by as much as 18 in the second half — and down 13 in the fourth quarter — Steamboat finally woke up and played the style of game that got it off to a 3-0 season start.

2013-14 Sailors girls basketball schedule

  • Dec. 2: Steamboat 46, Grand Junction Central 32 
  • Dec. 6: Brenda Patch Tournament in Roaring Fork: Steamboat 37, Roaring Fork 22
  • Dec. 7: Brenda Patch Tournament in Roaring Fork
  • Dec. 12 to 14: Steamboat Springs Shoot-Out
  • Dec. 20: 1:15 p.m. vs. Glenwood Springs at Pepsi Center
  • Jan. 10: 6 p.m. at Palisade  
  • Jan. 11: 1 p.m. at Delta  
  • Jan. 16: 5:30 p.m. at Eagle Valley  
  • Jan. 18: 12:30 p.m. vs. Battle Mountain
  • Jan. 21: 6 p.m. at Rifle  
  • Jan. 25: 1 p.m. at Glenwood Springs  
  • Jan. 30: 6 p.m. at Summit  
  • Feb. 1: 2 p.m. vs. Rifle  
  • Feb. 7: 6 p.m. vs. Palisade
  • Feb. 8: 2:30 p.m. vs. Delta  
  • Feb. 11: 6 p.m. vs. Summit
  • Feb. 13: 5:30 p.m. at Battle Mountain  
  • Feb. 15: 2 p.m. vs. Eagle Valley

Back-to-back 3-pointers by senior Mikaila Jegtvig pulled the Sailors to within three points at 36-33 with less than five minutes remaining in the game. Senior Maggie Crouch kept it close with a nifty post-move bucket to bring the score to 43-40 inside of a minute.

But in the waning moments, the little things that ravaged the Sailors (3-1) in a big way in the first half proved to be the difference in the outcome of Steamboat’s 44-42 loss to Green River (Wyo.) on Thursday night in the first round of the Steamboat Springs Shoot-Out. It was the Sailors’ first loss of the season.

“We just have to play fast, that’s our game,” Steamboat coach Mack Spitellie said following the loss. “We came out the first half and just stood. At halftime, I said we are the queens of standing. We aren’t making things happen.”

The Wolves stormed out to a 12-7 lead at the end of the first quarter and eventually a 26-14 halftime margin. Green River took advantage of Steamboat’s 16 first-half turnovers, breaking the Sailors' full-court press and converting easy transition buckets.

For a team that prides itself on creating easy points with baseline-to-baseline defense and outside shooting, Steamboat was beaten at its own game. The Sailors did force 21 turnovers but could never seem to convert them into consistent offense.

“We slowed it down on the offensive end and broke their press instead of all going into fury,” Spitellie said, comparing the second half to his Sailors’ opening 14 minutes. “That’s what a press does, it makes you force and speed up. What did we do? Fell right into it in the first half.”

Things slowed down a little for the Sailors in the second half, but the offensive prowess that helped Steamboat win its first three games of the season by an average of 28 points never fully showed up.

Jegtvig had a team-high 13 points, and Crouch’s eight points and five rebounds in the second half helped Steamboat make it interesting down the stretch. But the one-two punch of Taylor Stoeger (14 points) and Melody Ferrell (12 points, four rebounds) made Green River first-round victors.

The Sailors will play in Friday’s nightcap at 7:15 p.m. against Discovery Canyon.

“We have to rebound tomorrow, get that one and see where to go from there,” Spitellie said.

To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email bingersoll@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll

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