Sailors edge Bears in defensive affair
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colorado – The roars said it best. Sure, the crowd that packed into Kelly Meek Gymnasium on Friday night to see the Steamboat Springs High School basketball team cheered when the appropriate team scored, when a big shot fell in from deep or a player glided in for a layup.On Friday night, though, they roared for defense. Big swats from a pair of towering centers elicited thunderous applause, steals and tight coverage drew raves. Friday’s wasn’t a game for SportsCenter, with both teams struggling in the face of withering defensive pressure. It was Steamboat that managed to land the final and the crucial blows, however, and with a solid fourth quarter, the Sailors knocked off Rifle, 35-33.”That was a defensive struggle and it’s a more physical than we’ve played this year,” Steamboat coach Luke DeWolfe said. “In a lot of ways, it was a boxing match, and we were standing at the end. We got the shots when we needed them, the stops when we needed them, and that gave us the opportunity to win.”Steamboat’s go-ahead surges late in the game did well to sum up the sluggish pace of the game’s offenses. Basically, the Sailors got what they needed, but only when they had to have it.Rifle rallied to tie the score late in the third quarter at 21, but almost as if it had been waiting for the challenge, Steamboat immediately got hot. Junior Zach Dunklin drained a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession, then Matt Lanning hit a shot for a five-point lead.When Rifle tied the game again, this time at 28 thanks to a Jake Statler trey, Steamboat’s Garrett Bye took advantage of a foul, sinking a pair of free throws. Lanning again connected for a key bucket, this time rising up for a jumper in the lane, and junior Carter Kounovsky hit two of four free throws for the final padding.Streaky offense and free throws aren’t exactly a thing of beauty, but it was enough for Steamboat.”They were tough playing that zone, but we knocked down some shots at the end,” Kounovsky said.Steamboat was led by Brodie King, who had all 10 of his points in the second quarter. Kounovsky, had nine and Bye scored seven, five from the free throw line.Trenton Brown had 10 for Rifle, while Tanner Quick, the center who proved the keystone of the Bears’ defense in the paint, had seven.
Steamboat Springs High School girls basketball coach John Ameen pointed to the second half of his team’s Friday night game against Rifle. After trailing through much of the first half, the Sailors cut into the Bears’ lead in the third quarter and hung in the game in the fourth.”Our girls really battled,” he said, “but sometimes battling isn’t enough.”It wasn’t Friday, as Steamboat fell, 44-29.The Sailors trailed by four after one quarter and by nine at half. The Bears never relinquished control of the game. Steamboat’s best push came early in the fourth quarter when Mikaila Jegtvig hit a 3-point shot to pull her team within eight, 35-27. Rifle answered right away, but Steamboat got another hoop, this one from Alice Holmquist tto keep the gap at eight, 37-29. Steamboat wouldn’t score again, however.The Sailors were led by Jegtvig’s 13. Megan Stabile had six. Rifle’s Joey Kuheim had 11, working well in the paint.
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