STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – Ten minutes after the Steamboat Springs boys basketball team beat Eagle Valley on Friday, attention shifted to tonight’s opponent, Battle Mountain.”We have to defend better than we did (Friday night),” Sailors coach Kelly Meek said.Occasional defense lapses were the only thing Steamboat could find fault in during Friday night’s 65-46 win. Sailors junior Cameron Petet said the goal is to never allow more than 40 points a game.”We followed the game plan except for a being a little slack on defense,” he said.Steamboat got out to the early lead behind a basket from sophomore Michael Vandahl and an alley-oop slam from senior Mitch Bryden off a pass from sophomore Aaron Calkins.The Devils cut the Sailors’ 10-point lead to four with midway through the second quarter on two consecutive Cody Comerford baskets. That was as close as Eagle Valley would come to evening things up against the Sailors, who have found another gear since finishing second in their Steamboat Shootout Dec. 10.”We started moving the ball and starting running the offense like we are supposed to,” said Petet, who finished with nine points and six rebounds.Steamboat senior Scott Peterson did not start Friday’s game because of a knee injury. Meek was hoping to rest Peterson, but the senior is one of Steamboat’s best defenders and was needed against the athletic Devils’ squad.
Peterson finished with eight points in limited action.Eagle Valley coach Pat Gabriel started injured senior John Gabriel, but played the 6-foot-6 forward little in the second half. John Gabriel was injured in Tuesday’s game against Battle Mountain, and Pat Gabriel said he is uncertain when the senior will be back to 100 percent. The coach said he probably should not have played him Friday night.In John Gabriel’s place, Comerford led the Devils with 11 points. Carlos Martinez came off the bench to score nine points, all on three-point baskets. Matt Barker and Michael Smith scored six.Pat Gabriel said the offense and defensive schemes did not change for Friday’s game because of John Gabriel’s injury.”It’s a team game,” he said.Steamboat improved to 7-5 overall and 2-1 in league play. Up next for the Sailors is a 7:30 p.m. game today against Battle Mountain in Eagle-Vail. The Huskies were one of the preseason picks to win the league championship.Lady Sailors get first league winSomewhere between Tuesday’s 35-point loss to Moffat County and Friday’s tip against Eagle Valley, Steamboat Springs girls basketball coach Ashley Berggren and her seniors had a sit down.”They decided where they wanted to go as a team,” Berggren said.
Apparently, that direction was up.The Sailors defeated the Devils, 53-32, on Friday night, getting balanced scoring, but more importantly, an inspired effort on defense. Eagle Valley senior Rachel Sandoval was the lone Devil in double digits. She finished with 11 points.”It feels so much better,” senior Ann Barney said of winning by 21. “This is a starting point.”Steamboat and Eagle Valley were tied, 11-11, after the first quarter, but the Sailors started to extend their lead in the second, building a 21-16 lead by halftime.Steamboat generated easy baskets off its defense, getting in passing lanes, while senior Missy Chotvacs made dribbling the ball frustrating for Eagle Valley’s guards.”We’ve had no team chemistry,” Berggren said. “I figured the best way to start creating it was on defense, to force them to communicate.”The Sailors got defensive during practice Wednesday and Thursday. It showed Friday.”It was more us putting everything together as a team,” said Barney, who finished with seven points.Sandoval came out of the locker room and hit a big 3-pointer, bringing the Devils to within two points. Chotvacs scored off an offensive rebound, giving Steamboat a, 23-19, lead.
Sarah Reed came back down the floor and hit another 3-pointer for the Devils, but Steamboat’s Erin Gleason scored in transition, and Chotvacs got two steals and scored two baskets in transition, pushing the Sailors’ lead back to 29-22.Eagle Valley coach Jamie Mayne called a timeout. She credited Steamboat with a great second-half effort on defense.”We were getting the shots we wanted in the first half,” she said. “Toward the end we were frustrated.”Steamboat went on a 10-3 run to end the third quarter, sealing the win.Eight Steamboat players scored, led by Chotvacs’ 16 points, including 13 in the second half.Chelsey Lueders, Reed and Amanda Padilla each scored five points for the Devils.-To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail email@example.comVail Colorado