Sailors ready to dance against league-leading Glenwood | SteamboatToday.com

Sailors ready to dance against league-leading Glenwood

Steamboat junior Mac Riniker drives the lane. The Sailors lost the junior to an ankle injury last weekend.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Springs High School head boys basketball coach Michael Vandahl will be looking for a few players to step up Thursday night when the Sailors take on league-leading Glenwood Springs at home.

The evening of basketball will get rolling earlier than normal to accommodate the Snowcoming Dance later that night.  The varsity girls game is schedule dto begin at 5 p.m. and will be followed by the boys varsity game at 6:30 p.m.

"This team has faced a lot of adversity throughout the year," Vandahl said. "We have not been fully healthy since before the Christmas break. This is nothing new. It's just next man up, and we need a few guys to step up in this game."

The Sailors lost the team's top scorer, junior Mac Riniker, in the second quarter of Saturday's 80-60 win over Eagle Valley in Vail.  Riniker is averaging 6.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game. 

"He turned his ankle pretty bad, and I'm not sure when we will have him back,” Vandahl said.

"We still have talented players coming off of our bench," Vandahl said. "So we are looking at this as an opportunity."

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He said he is hoping to get strong showings from sophomores Dawson Lindquist, Ethan Pyles and Connor Hansen. He also said he will need junior Jack Martin, freshman Jake Kreissig and sophomore Trace Walker to step up and help the team.

Glenwood is currently the team to beat in the Western Slope league. The Demons have a firm grasp on first place at 9-0, and the team is 16-4 overall this season.

Steamboat is clinging to second place with a 6-2 record — a half game ahead of Battle Mountain, which is in third place at 6-3.

"We're going to be big underdogs; there is no question," Vandahl said. "But we believe that we have a chance to win this game."

As the teams look forward to the final week of the regular season, the Sailors, at least on paper, seem to have the easier road to second place.

On Saturday, Steamboat will face Palisade, which has won the last two games to move up to fourth in league standings. The Sailors then travel to take on last-place Rifle Tuesday and return home for the regular-season finale against Summit on Thursday. The Tigers have lost the last three games and are currently in second-to-last place in the league standings.

Battle Mountain must face Glenwood, Eagle Valley and Palisade in the last three games of the season.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.