Despite improved defense, Sailors girls basketball downed by Delta |

Despite improved defense, Sailors girls basketball downed by Delta

Delta's Lily Lockhart goes up for a jumper in the second half of Steamboat Springs' 52-33 loss on Saturday. The two teams combined for 58 turnovers, but it was the Panthers that hit big free throws and shots down the stretch.
Ben Ingersoll

— No matter how well you play in one or more phases of the game, a rash of turnovers almost certainly is the dagger in a high school basketball game.

The Steamboat Springs High School girls team found that out in a big way Saturday afternoon at home against Delta.

Neither team was safe from the turnover bug, but Delta outlasted a few Steamboat punches to beat the Sailors on their home court, 52-33.

The Sailors and Panthers combined for 58 turnovers, 30 belonging to Steamboat and 28 coughed up by Delta. And even on a day when Steamboat’s defense again flashed massive improvements, Delta did the little things that ultimately sunk the Sailors to a 4-13 record.

“The last two games against much better, quicker, faster, speedier teams we had a total of 15 turnovers, which is fantastic for us,” Steamboat coach Mack Spitellie said. “This game we had 30.”

Still, the Sailors’ loss to the Panthers was a far cry from when the two teams met on Jan. 10 in Delta when Steamboat allowed a season-high 80 points and only dropped in 33. Saturday’s game showed just how far the team has improved in a month despite a starting lineup that looks very different than it did when the season opened.

Delta jumped out to an 11-7 first-quarter lead on Steamboat. The Sailors grabbed their one and only lead of the game, 17-15, inside two minutes before halftime, but the Panthers regained a 21-17 lead at the break — an advantage they never would relinquish.

The Panthers’ lead swelled to 34-25 by the start of the fourth quarter and clutch free-throw shooting down the stretch padded the margin. Steamboat missed 17 of its 26 free throws while Delta hit 18 of 28.

“We were within seven at one point in time in the fourth quarter,” Spitellie said. “We would have been tied or ahead if we would have just been around 50 percent.”

After an off-day last weekend, Steamboat junior Jenna Miller had a great game, scoring a team-high 10 points to go along with eight rebounds and 11 steals, nearly a triple-double effort. Megan Limberg pitched in eight points, and Maddie Clock had five points with four rebounds.

Delta had five players score at least seven points, led by Emily Baier’s 15 and seven rebounds. Lily Lockhart had 10 points, and Joyclie Webb, Haley Millard and Rachel Huerkamp each had seven for the Panthers.

Steamboat will be back on the court Tuesday for its final home game of the season — senior night for the team’s four seniors. The Sailors will take on Battle Mountain, a team they beat, 47-39, on Jan. 20. The game starts at 6 p.m.

To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll

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