Huskies boys win in Steamboat Springs
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A 3-point shot from Battle Mountain tied Tuesday’s game between the Battle Mountain and Steamboat Springs high school boys basketball teams just as the third quarter was ending, causing a fan in the stands to remark, “We might as well have just played one quarter instead of four.”
As it was, they could have just played about 90 seconds.
The Huskies broke up a tie game with one short, furious fourth-quarter burst. Steamboat never found a response and Battle Mountain came away on top of the Western Slope clash, 51-45.
“I don’t know why something clicks, but our execution was better there,” Huskies coach Philip Tronsrue said. “It’s about execution. That’s something we’ve struggled with and it’s been one of our focuses.”
The score was tied at 41 with 5:35 left in the fourth quarter. Battle’s Miles Joersz changed that with a 3-point shot. Steamboat missed with its attempt to answer from 3-point range.
Jack Skidmore then scored on the next possession and Chase Keep on the possession after that.
In 81 seconds, it went from a tie game, 41-41, to seven points, 48-41. Steamboat never could bridge the gap and didn’t reach 48.
“We had some defensive rules on guys that we broke tonight,” Steamboat coach Mike Vandahl said. “We let some shooters get shots off when we’d said they wouldn’t get any shots. It was frustrating, but you have to give them credit. They made their shots and we missed some down the stretch.”
Battle Mountain’s Abdoulaye Dath, one of the players the Sailors had hoped to lock down, led all scorers with 13. Devin Huffman had 12.
Steamboat was led by Ethan Riniker’s 12 points. John Zalesky had 10.
Battle Mountain improved 6-6 overall and 3-3 in the league while Steamboat dropped to 6-7 and 3-4.
Rejuvenated Sailors beat Battle Mountain
A lot can change in a month.
That’s not exactly news, of course, but it’s become a welcome fact for the Steamboat Springs High School girls basketball team, which defended its home court on Tuesday night to beat Battle Mountain, 43-34.
A month ago, the Sailors were turnover prone and looking a long season in the face. Tuesday, they were poised, confident and victorious.
“They’re actually excited and having fun, and that’s made them turn the corner,” coach Mack Spitellie said. “If we can continue to do that, we’ll be in every game.”
Tuesday was all about composure for the team. They turned the ball over nine times, about a third of their total from a typical December game. That led to better offensive sets, more rebounds and a strong showing on defense.
The Huskies weren’t necessarily weak in any of those areas. They didn’t rack up turnovers, waste many shots or wilt under pressure.
They couldn’t match the Sailors, however.
“We just need to finish more on the offensive side,” coach Paul Stevens said. “We need to be knocking down free throws, finishing layups and getting anything that’s close.”
Steamboat was led in scoring by Raya Duryea. She had 14 points and was a factor in several big Steamboat runs. A 3-pointer gave the Sailors a 19-10 lead in the second quarter. She later pushed the lead to 10 with a bucket late in the third, then scored five of the team’s final eight points to maintain the gap.
For their part, Battle Mountain managed to answer a handful of Steamboat blows, especially in the first half, playing off sparks provided by leading scorer Monique Stevens, who finished with 11 points.
She actually answered that second-quarter Duryea 3-point shot with one of her own. That set off a run in which the Huskies pulled within four.
Later, the gap was five, but that was as close as it would get in the second half.
“We shot ourselves in the foot,” Stevens said. “Our press helped us out a bit. If we’d stuck with that a little more, maybe we could have gotten more turnovers, but we really need to finish offensively.”
Battle Mountain’s teams are at Rifle on Friday.