Sailors keep league record intact | SteamboatToday.com

Sailors keep league record intact

Jeff Caspersen

Glenwood Springs — With 31 seconds left, Steamboat's Aaron Calkins cleared the Glenwood press with a full-court inbound pass to Michael Vandahl, who, in turn, dropped in an uncontested layup. — With 31 seconds left, Steamboat's Aaron Calkins cleared the Glenwood press with a full-court inbound pass to Michael Vandahl, who, in turn, dropped in an uncontested layup.

— With 31 seconds left, Steamboat’s Aaron Calkins cleared the Glenwood press with a full-court inbound pass to Michael Vandahl, who, in turn, dropped in an uncontested layup.

That display of court vision and teamwork is what makes the Sailors so good, and that play essentially put Saturday’s game away.

Behind 14 points (and seven assists) from Calkins, 13 from Vandahl and 11 points and 11 rebounds from Colby Kostur, Steamboat Springs kept its league record unblemished with a 57-49 boys basketball win at Glenwood Springs.

Moving the ball around and creating high-percentage shots, the Sailors (15-2 overall, 9-0 in the Class 4A Western Slope League) came up with big baskets when they needed them most against the Demons, who kept the game close until late with full-court, pressure defense.

“I feel like were were moving the ball well on offense,” Calkins said. “We really work on moving the ball a lot. It makes the other team play defense and it takes them away from their offense.”

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In turn, Steamboat made a living on layups and wide-open jump shots, shooting 54 percent from the floor (22-of-41) and 42 percent (5-of-12) from 3-point range.

Entering the game, Demons coach Greg Hire knew his team would need a near-perfect performance to upset the Sailors, ranked No. 5 in Class 4A by RockyPreps.

“They’re a team that, if you make a little mistake, they’ll capitalize,” he said. “They’re well coached. The kids know exactly what (coach Kelly Meek) wants them to do. You make any mistake and they’ll take care of business.”

Hire and his team know all too well just how thin that margin of error is, twice threatening to derail the Sailors’ perfect season. At Steamboat on Jan. 12, Glenwood fell just four points short of the feat in a 55-51 loss.

This time, the Demons (10-6 overall, 5-4 in the 4A WSL) were within three midway through the fourth quarter despite entering the frame with down, 42-33. They scrapped back with a bothersome press and tight man defense that forced eight final-frame turnovers.

Counteracting Glenwood’s quickness proved no easy task.

“Glenwood presents problems for us with their speed factor,” Meek explained.

“They really broke us down. We’d be in good defensive position and they’d make a good, athletic move on us.”

Guard Kevin Screen was the chief culprit in that department, racking up 15 points on 5-of-14 shooting. The only other Demon to hit double figures in scoring was Connor Riley, who finished with 11.

In the end, Steamboat did just enough to record another win.

“That’s the kind of thing we’ve done all year long,” Meek said. “About the time it looks like we’re ready to fold we have the mental toughness to execute – on both ends of the floor – and overcome adversity.”

Meek also noted the solid post play from Alex Wood and the offensive contributions from Ryan Shaw and Connor Moore, who combined for 13 points.

Steamboat hosts Delta at 7:30 p.m. Friday.