Steamboat Springs Steamboat Springs High School girls basketball coach Mack Spitellie watched last weekend as his team fought and scrapped its way into the fourth quarter, but simply couldn’t finish teams off.
Saturday afternoon — in the Sailors’ seven seniors’ final home game — Steamboat got that close out.
And what a finish it was.
Trailing by as much as eight at halftime, Steamboat roared back over the final two quarters, nailing the big shots when it needed to, knocking down clutch free throws and forcing timely turnovers in the Sailors’ 43-41 win over Eagle Valley.
A week ago, Steamboat couldn’t buy a bucket down the stretch.
Saturday, it was as clutch as ever.
There was senior Mikaila Jegtvig’s huge three-pointers late in the third to force a 33-33 tie heading into the final quarter. Or there was sophomore Annie Osbourn’s timely and-1 plays complemented by senior Hunter Anderson’s come-from-nowhere threes to help keep things from getting away.
Senior Amaris Duryea also got into the action with perhaps the biggest shot of the night, a three pointer after Jegtvig went to the floor, scrambling for a loose ball to scoop to her teammate.
It all fell into place for a Sailors squad who will make Thursday’s district tournament, but not by much.
“I think our girls finally said in this game that they weren’t going to lose,” Spitellie said.
It didn’t take long for things to unravel on the Sailors after they fell behind 9-2 after the first quarter and 13-4 not long into the second. At half, Steamboat trailed 21-13, but Spitellie saw some things from his team that he knew could spell out a victory with if it kept at it.
“I knew right off the bat in the second quarter our defensive intensity just went up,” Spitellie said. “At halftime I said, ‘Listen, if you keep that intensity, you’re going to have this game.’ There was just no way they could handle the pressure we were throwing at them.”
Neither team handled the full-court pressure well from the get-go. Steamboat coughed up 24 total turnovers, and Eagle Valley had 26 in the game.
And the Sailors free-throw shooting didn’t do them any favors until the game’s final moments. Steamboat made just 10-of-22 free throws in the two-point win.
Not all wins come pretty, but Steamboat picked one up when it absolutely had to have one for momentum heading into the district tournament on Thursday in Grand Junction.
Jegtvig and Osbourne led all Sailors with 11 points apiece. All of Jegtvig’s points game in the second half. Senior Maddie Robertson tacked on seven points and seven rebounds, and Duryea had four points with five rebounds, starting in leading scorer Maggie Crouch’s absence, who again sat out with a lingering hand injury.
“Like I’ve told them since the beginning of this year, I love to watch them play when they actually come out and play,” Spitellie said. “Because they play hard. They’ve done it since they were in the seventh grade. They just go hard.”
To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email bingersoll@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll