Vail Valley preps: Steamboat shoots past Eagle Valley
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – The reason was simple: the Steamboat Springs girls basketball team sank nine 3-pointers Saturday. That allowed the Sailors to outpace Eagle Valley and climb above .500 for the season, winning 54-35 in Steamboat.
“When a team shoots 50 percent from 3, it’s hard to stay in the game,” Eagle Valley coach Sam Bartlett said.
Steamboat said those open looks came in rhythm with a well-played game elsewhere, however.
Senior Hannah Moore scored 24 points, hitting five of those treys, as Steamboat built a lead early and blew the game open in the second quarter. Eagle Valley had its moments, particularly in the paint, where Kayla Gagnon led the team with 14 points and proved a tough defensive obstacle. It was Steamboat’s day, however, and the Sailors dominated most of the game with a tough defense and that hot shooting.
“We had a better flow in the game than we usually do,” Moore said. “It always works best when we work as a team. That’s how we got those open looks, by moving it around as a team.”
Steamboat’s defense was at its best in the second quarter, a stretch where the team outscored Eagle Valley by 10.
“We executed well. We got a lot of good looks and second chance opportunities,” Steamboat coach John Ameen said. “We have shooters. When we get open looks, we’ll score.
“Defensively we got so many tips. Our defensive energy really powered us on offense.”
The win bumped Steamboat to 7-6 on the season and 2-1 in Western Slope League play. Eagle Valley, meanwhile fell to 4-9 and 1-3 in the league.
Bartlett said although he saw plenty that needed cleaning up, he also saw bright spots in Saturday’s loss.
“We were being aggressive on defense and we started to get out and run a little more, which is something we’ve been working on,” he said. “Our intensity out of halftime and at the beginning of the game were both great. We just need to put four quarters together.”
Steamboat wasn’t about to let that happen Saturday. Eryn Rinck scored 15 points and Tara Spitellie had 10, and the Sailors stretched their lead all through the fourth quarter.
Fast start powers Steamboat boys
Midway through the third quarter, Eagle Valley’s Tim Wells tried to throw a pass into the paint, but it slammed off the floor, over the rim and through the net.
It was an impressive enough feat to draw applause from all corners of Kelly Meek Gymnasium in Steamboat Springs, but not nearly enough to do away with the homestanding Sailors, who cruised to a 66-51 victory Saturday in Steamboat.
“We found a flow in our offense and we set the tempo,” Steamboat’s Eric Trousil said. “We locked down and kept our fundamentals good.”
Steamboat took control of the game from the start, building a 17-4 lead that the Devils, despite better play later in the game, could not come close to overcoming.
Charles Wood, Isiah Mendoza-Forsyth and Justin Anderson all buried 3-point shots in the first part of the first quarter, helping open up the big lead.
“We decided to completely ignore the scouting report on Steamboat, which was that they were going to shoot 3s and they were going to make them,” Eagle Valley coach Brent McConaghy said. “You just can’t overcome a deficit like that.”
Eagle Valley managed just one field goal and two free throws in the first quarter.
“We’re fully capable of building leads like that,” Trousil said. “We know our potential, and we can be a really good team. Sometimes we have lapses, and we need to fight through those to be the best team we can be.”
Wood led Steamboat through the game, finishing with a game-high 22 points. Justin Anderson also came up big, scoring 13. A late-game surge by the Devils kept things from getting boring, however.
Eagle Valley twice had opportunities to cut Steamboat’s lead to single digits in the fourth quarter. One possession resulted in a turnover, however, the ball was quickly whisked down to Wood for a layup. The Devils’ Cooper Senn later scored to cut it to 10 and drew a foul. He couldn’t sink the free throw, however, and Steamboat added several late scores to again pull away.
“We started closing out the 3s better, and we decided we had the ability to go inside, and we started doing that,” McConaghy said. “We just couldn’t overcome that deficit, though.”
Jesse Gish led Eagle Valley with 16 points. With the win, Steamboat improved to 7-6 and 2-1 in the league. Eagle Valley dropped to 5-8 and 2-2.