Skiers out-shoot Sailors | SteamboatToday.com

Skiers out-shoot Sailors

Aspen advances to tournament championship

Dave Shively

Steamboat Springs Colby Kostur battles for a rebound during Friday night's game against Aspen.

— Aspen coach Steve Ketchum remembers his first home loss to Kelly Meek’s Steamboat Springs Sailors nine seasons ago. The Sailors won on a shot at the buzzer.

“We’ve always had close, great games,” Ketchum said after Aspen and Steamboat’s semifinal match-up at the Steamboat Springs Shoot-Out.

The Friday night game was no different, except that it was Aspen that came away with the trilling win.

In front of a large home crowd, Steamboat’s Michael Vandahl hit a 3-pointer with a second on the clock to cut Aspen’s lead to two. With time expiring, Steamboat fouled Aspen’s Cory Parker on the ensuing in-bound play. He hit both shots, putting Aspen up 54-50 for the win and ending Steamboat’s hopes for a final shot miracle.

“That was unbelievably awesome,” said Michael Holmes, Aspen’s lone senior. “That’s the best competition we’ve had all year.”

Steamboat jumped out to an early 8-7 lead with great perimeter shooting from Colby Kostur, who led Steamboat with 14 points.

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But the Aspen trio of Parker, Tommy Rittenhouse and Michael Holmes got hot. The trio combined to hit six first half 3-pointers. Parker finished with 21 points, followed by Rittenhouse (13) and Holmes (10).

But Steamboat was able to hang with Aspen. Kostur and Calkins answered Aspen’s shooting show with 3-pointers of their own while Cameron Petet and Alex Wood both finally found ways to penetrate the paint. The Sailors ended the half with a 10-2 run capped off by a big 3-point conversion by Calkins to close within three at 30-27.

The third quarter was a much quieter offense showing for both sides. As Aspen began making costly turnovers, Steamboat failed to capitalize on their chances.

“We were making stupid mistakes,” Steamboat’s Richie Keith said. “We need to be patient, get back to the fundamentals.”

Steamboat only trailed by two heading into the final frame. Then Keith hit a 3-pointer to put Steamboat ahead 41-40. Then Calkins drove to the hole and dumped off to Petet for a three-point lead.

Unfortunately, Steamboat could not prevent Parker and Rittenhouse from getting inside for baskets. Down 49-47 with a minute to go, Steamboat had a chance, but failed to score on consecutive possessions until Vandahl’s 3-pointer.

Meek said the Sailors have to be more poised on offense and do a better job on the boards.

Steamboat plays D’Evelyn in the third-place game at 4:45 p.m. today.

Aspen will take on Liberty for the Shoot-Out championship at 8:15 p.m.