Steamboat boys win close game in overtime
December 8, 2007
If there was ever any question about the Steamboat Springs High School boys basketball team’s heart, Friday night’s semifinal game in the Steamboat Springs Shoot Out certainly answered that.
Playing possibly the game of the tournament, Steamboat willed itself to a 72-70 overtime victory against a bigger, stronger and more athletic Green River, Wyo., team.
“We found a way to refuse to lose,” said Steamboat coach Kelly Meek. “Coach (Jim) Bronner said that, and I think it fits the best. No matter what took place down the stretch, we had that attitude. I was really proud of them.”
Steamboat certainly could have wilted numerous times.
Like when leading scorer and best post defender Colby Kostur picked up his third foul 18 seconds into the second half. Or his fourth foul with 5 minutes, 55 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
Or when with 3:42 left in the fourth quarter, Steamboat found itself down eight points, at 58-50.
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Perhaps when the team was down 61-57 with 46 seconds remaining, it would give up.
But as was the case, Steamboat never saw itself out of the game.
Kostur never fouled out, scored 27 points and held Green River’s 6-foot-7 Isaac Wittman to 21 points.
When the Sailors were down eight, they just battled back and chipped away at the Wolves’ lead.
Then, when things looked bleak with under a minute to play and Steamboat still trailing by four, Aaron Calkins – who was playing at about 80 percent because of mononucleosis – was fouled on a 3-pointer.
He made 2-of-3 free throws to cut the lead to 61-59.
Wolves guard Mike James proceeded to miss two free throws, setting the stage for Kostur.
Blake Weinstein missed a 3-pointer that bounded off the rim and into Kostur’s hands. The senior scored with seven seconds remaining to tie up the score at 61.
“I’ve played too long to be nervous,” said Kostur, who added 10 rebounds. “I’ve just coached myself to do a good job on defense and realized the offense will come with it.”
In overtime, Green River took a 68-67 lead with 46 seconds remaining. On the next Steamboat possession, guard Michael Vandahl drove to the basket, made the shot and was fouled. Vandahl made the free throw to give Steamboat a 70-68 lead.
Two more Vandahl free throws put Steamboat up, 72-68.
After Wittman made a layup and Steamboat’s Alex Wood missed two free throws, Green River missed two point-blank attempts to give Steamboat the win.
“The end of the game is the best time,” said Vandahl, who finished with a triple-double, scoring 21 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and dishing out 10 assists. “When you’re down by eight, you have to come back and win. This one was a lot of fun.”
What makes it more fun for Steamboat is what school the team gets to see in the championship game.
The team will play D’Evelyn at 7:20 p.m. today in the championship game.
D’Evelyn has been Steamboat’s kryptonite.
The Jaguars beat the Sailors twice last year – including in the playoffs – and have won the past seven times the two teams have played.
“I can’t wait,” Calkins said. “I just want to play them. The first time we played them was when we were freshmen, and we’ve never beat them.”
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