Coach: Chemistry to fuel boys
After more than 30 years as a head basketball coach, Kelly Meek has learned it takes more than hard work, talent and a few good players to put together a successful season.
It also takes chemistry.
That chemistry is what Meek and his coaching staff have been working to develop in the first few weeks of the season. Most of the team took part in a two-week camp before the start of official practice Monday.
“Chemistry is a hard thing to predict,” Meek said. “We struggled with it a bit at the start of last season, but once we found it, things started to roll.”
Meek credits his team’s chemistry for a 13-game winning streak, which resulted in the teams final 17-6 (10-2) record last season. The team advanced to the state playoffs before losing a heart-breaking game, 64-54, to Ralston Valley in the state tournament.
But this is a new season, and the Sailors already have begun the process of rebuilding that team chemistry.
Steamboat also will need more than a few players to step up if it hopes to replace the play of three standout players –Devin Borvansky, Kyle Re and Nick Monterotti — who graduated after last season.
“We are going to miss those guys,” Meek said. “They were a big part of our team last season, and our success.”
Thankfully, Meek will have veterans Patrick Ayres and Scott Peterson who started at times last season.
He also will have Henry Howard and Dustin Moran, who were not starters but accumulated a great deal of playing time as substitutes off the bench.
Meek also is hoping to get some help from senior Cameron Burney, who was in and out of the lineup last year.
Several other players, including forward Collin Hare, guard Tyler Fosdick and sophomore forward Tanner Stillwell should contribute this season. Fosdick missed last year with a shoulder injury he suffered during football season.
A pair of freshmen also look promising and could break into the rotation. Michael Van Dahl, a 5-foot-8 guard, and Aaron Calkins, a 6-foot-1 forward, have impressed the coach early.
“It’s still pretty early,” Meek said. “Our practices are still pretty big. We haven’t made any final decisions about who is going to play or where.”
Meek said the players on this year’s team are coming off a successful summer season and have been working hard in practices during the first week.
However, a couple of injuries have caused the coach concern already. Patrick Weber, the team’s only true post player, went down with a knee injury. He had an MRI test and should know where he stands early this week.
Ayres, the team’s leading scorer last season, also missed several practices with a badly sprained ankle. Meek is hoping both players will be ready to go by the team’s opening game against Roaring Fork in the first week of December.
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Editor’s note: The story was updated at 8:33 p.m.