Steamboat Springs boys too much for Glenwood |

Steamboat Springs boys too much for Glenwood

Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

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.

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 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.”

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.”

Leah Mansfield’s 3-pointer with 1 minute, 40 seconds to go in the game drew a huge ovation.

Not because it was a critical shot ” it extended Glenwood’s lead over Steamboat to 40 points ” but because it provided the first varsity points of the sophomore’s girls basketball career.

“We were all young once,” said Mansfield’s senior teammate, Sharaya Selsor. “We all remember how exciting it was to get our first varsity points.”

That special moment punctuated the Demons’ 61-23 home win, a game in which Glenwood, buoyed by a suffocating press, led 24-2 after a quarter and 43-4 at halftime.

Mansfield’s late minutes were a product of the damage the veteran Demons levied early on.

Selsor finished with a game-high 21 points and her sister, Katrina, poured in 14. Avery Denney added nine points.

Glenwood coach Bryan Derby, whose team improved to 14-3 overall and to 8-1 in the 4A WSL, entered the game aiming to get everyone involved. Friday’s 65-42 loss at Moffat County left the Demons aware that they need contributions from every corner of the roster to make the season a long one.

“If we’re going to go very far, we’ve got to get these other guys scoring ” Avery, Chelsea (Vallario), Laura (Young) and Tasha (Derby),” Derby emphasized. “I think they did pretty good with that. They’re more confident.”

While Glenwood reveled in the win, Steamboat coach John Ameen did what he could to unearth a silver lining to the loss. He found it in a spirited second-half performance.

“We knew going in the caliber team they were,” he said. “I thought we really played better in that second half. Our mentality in that first half is that we got down. I’m glad we were able to bounce back a little.”

Colleen King paced the Sailors (3-14 overall, 2-7 in the 4A WSL) with eight points and 11 rebounds.

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