Steamboat's Brandon Miller breaks through with a shot Saturday against Delta. Miller had one of his best games, scoring 13 points to lead the Sailors.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Steamboat's Brandon Miller breaks through with a shot Saturday against Delta. Miller had one of his best games, scoring 13 points to lead the Sailors.

Steamboat boys happier with effort despite basketball loss Saturday

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Ben Custer plays Saturday as Steamboat took on Delta. The Sailors lost, 55-48.

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Garrett Bye puts up a shot Saturday against Delta.

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Steamboat's Zach Dunklin puts up a 3-point shot Saturday against Delta. He connected, tying the game in the fourth quarter.

— The final seconds of the Steamboat Springs High School boys basketball team’s Saturday home game against Delta ticked away amid a flurry of fouls and in front of a home bench filled with long faces, much as Friday night's loss had.

Much about the two games was different, however, and that ensured an entirely different attitude among the players as they filed out of the locker room.

The Sailors lost, 55-48, but that score was a result of a much more consistent effort Saturday.

“We had much better effort tonight,” Steamboat coach Luke DeWolfe said. “Instead of playing 16 minutes, we played 32, and it makes a big difference.”

Steamboat led several times in the first half, then in the second half repeatedly tied the game with Delta.

Junior Zach Dunklin canned a 3-point shot midway through the fourth quarter to tie the game at 45, but Delta managed to pull away one more time and secure the win.

One big takeaway for the Sailors came from the lineup that was in the game during those waning seconds. With starters sidelined by either foul trouble or minor injuries, Steamboat’s bench kept the team in the game.

“The thing I was most proud of is the guys that were willing to step up,” DeWolfe said. “Brandon Miller’s a great example. He’s a guy who’s worked hard all year long, has not gotten the minutes he’s wanted to but has stayed positive and has really worked hard in practice. He got an opportunity and stepped up and had a great night, hit huge shots and played great defense.”

Miller, a senior, scored 13 points, tops on his team. Ben Custer and Garrett Bye each had nine points, and Carter Kounovsky scored seven.

“I was feeling it,” Miller said, grinning. “This says we have depth. We can play a lot of guys and not just our starting five.”

Delta was led by Douglas Hawkins, who scored 13. Chris Black had 12.

The Sailors (6-4) return to the court Friday against Eagle Valley.

“We’re going to fire back,” Miller said.

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

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