Sailors pressed into pity contest
Girls fail to keep up with D'Evelyn
Steamboat Springs — The Steamboat Springs girls basketball that team proved Thursday night it can dish it out, blasting Summit in the opening game of the 10th annual Steamboat ShootOut with a grueling full-court press.
Then, the Sailors showed Friday that they’re far from being able to take it. They fell victim to the same fast-break, full-court press attack they used so effectively the previous night. D’Evelyn scored 24 first-quarter points and never let off the accelerator, knocking Steamboat into Friday’s third-place game with a 74-37 shellacking.
“They had a good press,” Steamboat coach John Ameen said. “They really ran it well, but I was disappointed. It wasn’t a trapping press. We’ve seen stuff like that already this season.”
The game wasn’t like any other the Sailors have played, however. Instead, it was more reminiscent of the team’s struggles during the last several years.
It was only close for a few moments early in the first half. D’Evelyn took a 9-2 lead before junior Gracie Stockdale knocked in a 3-point shot to cut the gap to four. The Jaguars quickly took control.
They took a 14-point lead in the first quarter and, after surrendering just four points to Steamboat in the second, expanded it to 29 by the end of the first half.
At times, D’Evelyn seemingly couldn’t miss. It had eight different players score and was led by senior Krystal Pittman, who had 23. She sank four 3-point shots by herself. The team combined for eight.
Steamboat, meanwhile, only seemed to be able to make the problems worse. The Sailors – calm, quick and confident just one night prior – panicked. They inevitably would dribble the ball off a foot and out of bounds if they tried to dash through the pressure. They then threw it wildly and inaccurately, over the heads or at the feet of potential outlets when they tried to pass through the defense. Steamboat often was too rattled to run its offense even when it did make it down the floor.
They had good reason to be worried. D’Evelyn stole as often good passes as the Sailors threw bad ones, but the rush brought about the kind of defeat the Sailors had hoped was no longer possible.
“It sped us up. That’s what a press does. That’s why we try to run one,” Ameen said. “What we didn’t do was settle down when we got into our half-court offense.”
Senior guard Brittany Long stood out for the Sailors. Although she struggled with the press like the rest of her team, she found room to drive late in the game and scored on a series of fourth-quarter layups. She even applied some pressure of her own, capping off one layup with an immediate steal and another easy two points. She finished with a team-best 15.
“I wanted to change the tempo of the game. Looking around at our team, I could tell, as a whole, we quit. We gave up,” Long said. “That killed us. We have to keep playing.”
The loss ended Steamboat’s dreams of winning its home tournament and drops the squad into today’s consolation game, a 1:30 p.m. showdown against Green River.
“We are going to come back confident. We’re going to play as if we didn’t lose,” Long said. “We still have a good team. This is not the same team it’s been the last three years.”
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