Steamboat Springs What happened: Steamboat played well for one half and lost Friday night against Palisade, then struggled in both halves in a Saturday loss against Delta.
What does it mean: The Sailors were on a high after finishing third in the Steamboat Shoot-Out but have dropped four of five since and need to do a bit of soul searching. The Sailors have the ability to shoot the 3-point shot, but they struggle when it’s not falling. They need to find a way to access second and third options on offense to help get them through rough patches. It won’t get easier Thursday against a 7-3 Eagle Valley squad. A Saturday game at downtrodden Battle Mountain may be a must-win.
What’s next: Steamboat plays at 6 p.m. Friday at home against Eagle Valley.
What happened: Steamboat fell apart in the second half against Palisade on Friday night. The Sailors scored just two points in the first quarter, then lost a five-point lead in the fourth quarter. They were much more consistent Saturday against Delta but couldn’t pull ahead late in a tight game.
What does it mean: Friday was just frustrating, but Saturday’s game offered a lot more for the Sailors to be positive about. One of those things was depth. Most of the team’s starting lineup was on the bench late in the game, but Steamboat’s reserves managed to go blow for blow with Delta, at least until the final minute.
What’s next: The Sailors play at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Steamboat against Eagle Valley.
What happened: Brandon Yeager at 182 pounds was second while Nathan Parks and Cole Sittig, at 126 pounds and heavyweight, respectively, were third.
What does it mean: Parks made state a year ago, so his success is no surprise. Yeager and Sittig have been strong in previous seasons, so their success isn’t exactly a surprise, either, but it’s a good sign of the strength of the team. They appear to be on course to qualifying for state. If Steamboat can get three down to Denver, this would without a doubt be the most successful season in recent memory.
What’s next: A busy week. Steamboat wrestlers on the road in duals Thursday and Friday, then in a tournament Saturday.
What happened: The Steamboat girls were fourth, led by junior Meg O’Connell, who placed sixth. The boys were seventh and paced by Peter White, who finished 10th.
What does it mean: The Sailors were solid if not spectacular skiing as a part of a big day of racing at Howelsen Hill.
What’s next: The team returns to action Jan. 26 in a meet hosted by Summit High School.
What happened: Suzanne Lyon won and Ali Pougiales was third as the Steamboat girls reeled off a big day on their home hill. The boys ran into some rough luck with their top skiers, but Dane Dixson finished eighth to lead the Sailors.
What does it mean:Steamboat produces fast skiers. That’s not exactly a news flash, but it was fun to watch Friday.
What’s next: Steamboat travels to Beaver Creek on Friday.
What happened: Steamboat made the most of its opportunities Saturday, scoring four goals on just 18 shots. That’s a much better rate of return than the team had been getting in a four-game losing streak that saw the team lose its first three games of 2013.
What does it mean: There will be plenty of positive things to take away from a win as needed as Saturday's was, but here’s a big one: Steamboat was tied 2-2 in the second period and jumped right out of the gate and scored early in the third, taking the lead for good. Sometimes it takes a bit of staunch resilience like that to snap a team out of a funk, and the Sailors had definitely been in a funk.
What’s next: Steamboat plays at 6 p.m. Friday at Battle Mountain.
What happened: Hayden won a pair of games over the weekend against inferior teams, including, much to the Tigers’ delight, West Grand, a school that’s spoiled more than a few Hayden plans through the years.
What does it mean: No matter the quality of Hayden’s team, a trip to Kremmling has always been a stumbling block for the Tigers, so no matter where the Mustangs finish themselves, getting over that hurdle is a big step for Hayden. The team showed in both of its weekend wins that it has numerous weapons on offense and a tough defense. They aren’t unbeatable, but they appear poised for a good run through the Western Slope League.
What’s next: The Tigers play at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Hotchkiss
Hayden girls basketball (1-7) lost to West Grand, 46-31
What happened: Hayden played close with West Grand for three quarters, but couldn’t keep it up in the third. A two-point game turned into a 15-point loss. Kayla Dunkley scored nine to lead the Tigers.
What does it mean: Even though it was a loss, the game was an important sign of improvement for the Tigers. This is a team that has had only one out of its seven losses be within single digits. Keeping it tight with West Grand into the fourth quarter is a step forward.
What’s next: The Tigers play at 6 p.m. Friday at Hotchkiss.
What happened: Wrestling without team leaders T-Lane Mazzola (injury) and Journey Vreeman (ill), Hayden struggled in one of the toughest tournaments in this section of the country. It didn’t have any wrestlers place.
What does it mean: The Tigers are a work in progress, without any younger athletes capable of dominating. That doesn’t mean they can’t find success this season, just that it isn’t preordained, as it sometimes feels is the case with this program.
What’s next: Hayden has a dual in Leadville on Friday, then wrestles there for a tournament Saturday.
What happened: Shelby Meyer scored 16 points and Josie Rossi had 14 rebounds as Soroco beat up on West Grand.
What does it mean: The Rams are now off to more than just a good start. They’re establishing themselves as one of the main teams to contend with in the Western Slope. That wasn’t something many expected considering the team’s fortunes in recent seasons and the many new faces on the team, but nevertheless, it should make for a fun season.
What’s next: Soroco plays at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at home against Vail Christian.
What happened: Ryan Jeep was a dominant force, scoring 20 points in a big win against West Grand. Soroco trailed at half, but made that up in the third quarter then held on for its biggest win of the season.
What does it mean: Maybe all they needed was a jump start. The Rams started the season 0-4 and it looked like it could be a very long season. They beat North Park before the break, however, then added two more wins after the new year. They have a good chance at evening their record Tuesday with a game at home against the Denver Eagles.
What’s next: Soroco plays at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday against the Denver Eagles.
What happened: Cody Constine placed fourth for the Rams in the 195-pound weight bracket.
What does it mean: It was a nice weekend for Constine. The rest of the Rams didn’t fare as well, though several picked up nice wins.
What’s next: Soroco wrestles Jan. 26 in a tournament in Steamboat Springs.