Sailors girls, boys remain perfect in league | SteamboatToday.com

Sailors girls, boys remain perfect in league

Steamboat Springs High School basketball teams win against Palisade on Saturday

Luke Graham

— For the second consecutive night, the Steamboat Springs High School girls basketball team found a way to win.

And the 45-44 win against Palisade on Saturday not only kept the Sailors undefeated in league, but it also spoke to the rapid change in outcomes.

For the better part of three years, Steamboat would get ahead, only to see the other team come back and win.

But Saturday, Steamboat found itself down seven points with 5 minutes, 30 seconds left in the game.

The Sailors (9-3, 4-0 in league play) had cut it to three points at 44-41 with 30 seconds left. Steamboat tried to design a play for a 3-pointer but couldn't get it. After an air ball, senior Emi Birch grabbed the rebound, made a layup and got fouled. After she missed the free throw, Birch grabbed her own rebound, made another layup and got fouled. With the score at 45-44, Birch missed her free throw, but Palisade's last-second desperation heave found nothing.

"They keep their composure on the floor; they understand the game a lot more," Steamboat coach John Ameen said. "With 5 1/2 minutes left and being down seven points, they realized that isn't that much. With 30 seconds left, they realize three points can be made up. It's just a better understanding of the game. It's really just having a better understanding of the game."

Recommended Stories For You

The Steamboat boys again proved that whatever team eventually wins the Western Slope League again will have to go through the Sailors.

In a back-and-forth game, Steamboat's key defensive possessions proved to be the difference in a 56-51 win against Palisade.

"We were on our heels for a while," Steamboat coach Luke DeWolfe said. "With four minutes left, there was a look in our eye that we were tired and really out of gas. We took a timeout and were able to regroup."

Keyed by a Justin Anderson 3-pointer, Steamboat (7-5, 4-0) was able to extend its lead in the fourth quarter and pick up several big defensive stops.

But the game more than anything showed that the league title will again have to go through Steamboat. The Sailors seem to be gelling better as each game progresses and look primed for a big weekend with games at Rifle and Glenwood Springs on Friday and Saturday.

"We believe in ourselves and each other," DeWolfe said. "It's that ability to compete and beat anybody in our league. Defensively, there were times that we were as good as we've played in a long time as a program."

Steamboat hockey falls to Air Academy, 2-0

The Steamboat Springs High School hockey team lost to Air Academy, 2-0, on Saturday.

The loss ended a six-game win streak for the Sailors, now 6-2-2.

After skating to a scoreless first period, Air Academy got what would prove to be the game winner from Cam Maceau on power play goal in the second period. Trey Reilly added a tally in the third period for Air Academy.

The Sailors had their chances, however. With a scoreless tie, Vladan Chase ripped a shot that caromed off of both posts and the Air Academy goaltender before being cleared out.

Steamboat coach Jeff Ruff said his players were worn out after Friday's 3-2 win against Lewis-Palmer.

But considering the weekend and the slate where Steamboat played arguably the two best teams in the conference, Ruff said he was pleased but not satisfied with a 1-1 road trip.

"I believe on another day when our legs aren't as heavy, we can beat that team," Ruff said. "Not to negate the fact that that's a very good hockey team. I'm just glad we faced some adversity at this point in the season than further down the road. Our guys came away disappointed, certainly. But they did play a good game."

Steamboat continues play at 6:45 p.m. Monday against Battle Mountain at Howelsen Ice Arena. Battle Mountain dealt Steamboat a 1-0 defeat at the King of the Mountain Tournament earlier this season.

Hayden High School basketball teams win

The Hayden High School boys and girls basketball teams made quick work of De Beque on Saturday, each walking away with an easy win.

The girls won, 75-17, and the boys won, 75-48.

"The hardest thing is to stay intense and play good defense all the time," Hayden girls coach Eric Hamilton said. "But we were able to work on a few things that we'll have to do in games in the future. It went good. I'd rather have a tight ball game every night than a game like that. But I thought the girls came out of there and got better at some things."

Kyra Rolando led the Tigers with 16 points. Calla Manzanares and Erin Koehler each chipped in 14.

Hamilton said the focus now turns to the Tigers' last stretch of games, ones that will be a big determining factor in where Hayden will finish in the district.

"It's a tough stretch there," he said. "But we're getting ready for that."

In the boys game, Hayden started out slow, leading just 15-10 after one quarter. But as the game progressed, the Tigers' athleticism was too much.

"Overall, it was a good workman-like performance," coach Mike Luppes said.

Luppes said the victory was especially gratifying after the team suffered two tough losses this week.

Ben Williams led Hayden with 19 points. Graig Medvesk had 17, Raul Valdez had 10 and Murphy Smartt and Rene Valdez each had nine.