Boys hoops: Demons finish big at Steamboat
Steamboat Pilot & Today
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Springs High School boys basketball coach Luke DeWolfe stuck out a clenched fist, a fist awaiting a job-well-done bump shortly before 4 p.m. on Saturday.
On the receiving end wasn’t one of his talented players. In fact, it wasn’t anyone affiliated with the Sailors’ program at all.
It was Glenwood Springs boys coach Cory Hitchcock, a congratulatory symbol for his Demons’ clutch finish in their game in the Sailors’ house.
Round 1 of Glenwood-Steamboat sure didn’t disappoint, but for the sixth straight time in the regular season, it was Hitchcock’s team that sealed the deal. Glenwood hit late free throws and snagged crucial turnovers in the Demons’ 45-38 win in a battle of 4A Western Slope League first-place squads.
“That’s a great team over there,” Hitchcock said about the Sailors. “Coach DeWolfe does a great job. That was a fun game to coach.”
The teams traded leads late in the game after the Demons held a slim margin for most of the second and third quarters. First, it was Steamboat senior Austin Kerbs, who nailed an and-1 layup with 2 minutes remaining to give the Sailors a 37-36 lead.
Then it was Demons senior Cameron Horning, the league leader in scoring, who hit a contested shot in the paint, snagged a steal immediately after and put in another layup to give his team a 40-37 advantage.
From there, Glenwood nailed its free throws when the Sailors didn’t. Now, the Demons sit alone atop the conference standings with an 8-3 overall record and perfect 5-0 league mark.
“I thought the game plan itself was solid and we were right there in the end,” DeWolfe said. “Ultimately, you try to give yourself the opportunity to compete at the end. We were there and didn’t execute the way we needed to and they did.”
Steamboat leading scorer Robi Powers opened the game on a 7-0 tear, and the Sailors owned an 11-6 advantage after one quarter. But a big first half from Demons seniors Brian Burbidge and Evrett Marr helped Glenwood outscore Steamboat in the second period, 13-4, for a 19-15 halftime lead.
The Demons lead stayed at four points entering the fourth quarter, and Glenwood survived the late barrage from Kerbs and Steamboat 6-foot-9 center Garrett Bye for the victory.
“I had to tell my guys to breathe a couple times in the timeout just to calm them down,” Hitchcock said. “We tend to get in a hurry mentality when we have a lead. I wanted them to slow down and make Steamboat play our style of game.”
Horning scored right on his season average, finishing with 19 points and five rebounds. Zack Peterson had nine points and seven rebounds off the bench, and Marr finished with six points.
For Steamboat, Powers only scored two points after halftime, but finished with a team-high 11. Bye had nine points and seven rebounds, and Kerbs scored five points.
“To hold Robi Powers to 11 points, that’s a heck of a basketball player,” Hitchcock said, praising guard play from the likes of Marr and AJ Crowley. “I know next time that’s going to be just as hard to do.”
Next time doesn’t come until the regular-season finale for both teams on Feb. 14, this time in Glenwood’s gym.
Up next for the Demons is Summit on Thursday in Frisco. The Sailors have a quick turnaround with a 7 p.m. game on Tuesday at third-place Battle Mountain.
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Local teams just missed out on qualifying for state as teams but will be sending individual representatives following Friday’s regional meets.