Sailors kick off home tournament with 6:20 p.m. game |

Sailors kick off home tournament with 6:20 p.m. game

Luke Graham
Steamboat Springs High School basketball player Connor Landusky practices free throws Wednesday afternoon during practice. The Sailors are hosting the Steamboat ShootOut basketball tournament today through Saturday.
Matt Stensland

— One week after playing a relatively soft tournament in Carbondale, the Steamboat Springs High School boys basketball team is looking forward to the top-notch competition taking place today through Saturday at the Steamboat ShootOut.

Steamboat coach Luke DeWolfe said the eight-team tournament at home provides in-valuable experience for his young, somewhat inexperienced squad.

“Through this, and through the Green River Tournament the following week, I think we can find a lot of identity within ourselves,” said DeWolfe, whose team opens tournament play at 6:20 p.m. today against Castle View. “There’s a lot of opportunity, and that opportunity comes from playing good teams and solid opponents who you know are at that state level.”

The Steamboat ShootOut bracket is as loaded with quality teams this year as it has been in past years. In addition to Steamboat, D’Evelyn (No. 9 in Class 4A), Green River, Wyo. (No. 4 in Wyoming’s largest classification), Liberty (Class 5A team) and Moffat County fill out portions of the brackets.

Steamboat is coming off two wins in the Brenda Patch Tournament in Carbondale. Although the Sailors went 2-0, DeWolfe said Steamboat has to play better. The Sailors struggled to find offensive consistency during the tournament.

DeWolfe attributed part of the sluggishness to the team’s limited playing time together. Starters Isiah Forsyth, Charles Wood and Alex Wood were held out of most preseason practices because of injury. Steamboat’s other two starters – Nelson Brassell and Jack Spady – are first-time starters.

“It’s coming. Every single practice, it gets better and better,” DeWolfe said. “We’re still very young and still getting to know each other. It’s the relationships that they have on the basketball court as well as the relationship between me and them. There’s a lot of stuff going on, but it’s going well.”

Steamboat’s tournament success might come down to how well its young players perform. Tonight’s game is the first varsity home opener for several Sailors.

“There is definitely more pressure since it’s at home,” Charles Wood said. “But over the summer, we played some pretty good teams. Last weekend wasn’t much, so our defense has to step up and be active all the time. Then, our offense has to be efficient.”

DeWolfe said with the team’s inexperience on the court and offensive struggles, its defensive play will be of particular importance. If the Sailors can make it tough on teams to score, DeWolfe is confident Steamboat can do well in the tournament.

“It always will be and continues to be our defense intensity,” he said. “We need to keep it for four quarters. That’s always been a hallmark for this program. Especially coming off a lackluster last game, we need to pressure teams for four quarters.”

Steamboat will play either Summit or Montrose on Friday.

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