Sailors handle Battle Mountain for two wins
EDWARDS —Steamboat Springs boys basketball may start to wear its red uniforms at home.
The Sailors proved themselves to be road warriors again, knocking off Battle Mountain, 65-47, in Edwards, for an Eagle County sweep in 2016.
The Sailors are 5-2 on the road in the Slope and that portends well as they punched their ticket to the district tournament in Grand Junction, a long ways from the friendly confines, the weekend after next.
“We have played a little funky at home,” Sailors coach Mike VanDahl said. “I think just being on the road and being together is an us-against-them mentality. I don’t know. We’ll take road warriors. That’s fine with us.”
The coach, however, wouldn’t mind if the Sailors played well, though, in their final two home games later this week.
The Sailors (9-9 overall and 6-6 in the Slope) made themselves at home early in Edwards, running out to a 24-7 first-quarter lead and never looked back.
Defensively, Steamboat focused on shutting down Miles Joersz, Abdoulaye Dath and Devin Huffman. That worked early and turned into points.
Steamboat scored the first six points — McKenyon King, Jonathon Rinck and Zach Holm — before the Huskies appeared to get their footing with a field goal from Chase Keep and a 3 by Joersz.
Then, the Sailors went off. Rinck was on the soaring end of an alley-oop for a slam. He also had two treys, sandwiched around a Mac Riniker 3. By the time the Sailors’ John Zalesky hit a late jumper, the Sailors had a 17-point lead after eight minutes.
“I think we’ve been progressing offensively each game,” said Rinck, who had 15 points in the first quarter and 26 overall. “It was coming naturally tonight. I was shooting well.”
Battle Mountain (10-9, 7-6) compounded matters by seemingly missing most of its good looks at the hoop.
“I don’t know if we were wound a little tight or if we were not as intense as we needed to be,” Huskies coach Phil Tronsrue said. “We definitely missed a lot. What we wanted to run offensively was there. We just were not getting shots to go down. When they start out with that much firepower, you have to match that.”
The Huskies already have their spot in the district dance, but can’t be happy by the way their finishing sprint has been going, with two losses in a row on their home court.
“I think we need to think about tonight, but we also need to forget about tonight,” Tronsrue said. “Rifle’s the league champ. We get to play the league champ (on Friday). We played them in a great overtime game at their place. It’s Senior Night. A lot of good things are on our doorstep.”
Dureya strikes late to lift Sailors
EDWARDS — Raya Dureya pretty much sent Steamboat Springs girls basketball to the district tournament on Tuesday night.
Dureya’s 3 with 4.6 seconds left in the Sailors’ game with Battle Mountain was the difference in a 44-41 win for Steamboat.
The Sailors moved to 7-11 overall, but, more importantly, to 5-7 in the Slope. Steamboat returns home for a favorable schedule to finish the season with Summit County on Thursday and Glenwood Springs on Saturday.
“It’s been a great year,” Dureya said. “Sometimes the shots fall. It’s a team game. It was by no means just (the shot).”
The Sailors were playing for the final shot, and it was meant to go to Annie Osborn, according to Sailors’ coach Mack Spitelle. But the best-laid plans often go for naught, and Dureya had a great look at the top of the key for the win.
“I think it’s a good win,” Spitelle said. “That wasn’t our best defensive effort this season, but we found a way to stay in the game.”
Steamboat has to win one of its final two games this week to make its ticket official for Grand Junction.
Meanwhile, for the Huskies (5-13, 3-10, it was just another gut-wrenching loss — they’ve lost four games this season by five points or fewer, masking the progress the team has made this year.
Both Huskies teams wrap the regular season with home games against Rifle on Friday.
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.