Dunklin’s huge night for Steamboat boys hoops drops pesky Palisade squad | SteamboatToday.com

Dunklin’s huge night for Steamboat boys hoops drops pesky Palisade squad

Ben Ingersoll

— When the Steamboat Springs High School boys basketball team needed a boost early Friday night, senior Zach Dunklin provided it.

And when the Sailors had trouble closing out visiting Palisade, Dunklin had no problem slamming the door on the Bulldogs.

Dunklin scored the Sailors' first 11 points Friday night, and closed out his 27-point performance with a crowd-pleasing four-point play in the final moments as Steamboat rolled to a 61-54 victory.

"There are games where we lean on seniors," Sailors coach Luke DeWolfe said. "This is one of those games where we needed Zach to step up, and he did. It was a perfect time for him to have a game like that."

But even with Dunklin's timely buckets, Steamboat couldn't seem to put away a pesky Palisade squad, which even managed to take a five-point lead in the third quarter.

The Bulldog trio of Jacob Bollinger (16 points), Zach Marengo (12 points) and Skyler Miller (11 points) kept things interesting throughout. Steamboat led 15-10 at the end of quarter one and 26-25 heading into the locker rooms at half.

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Then each team's scoring spree began.

First it was Palisade, cruising to a 6-0 second-half start to take its biggest lead of the game at five.

Then it was Dunklin and company, stealing the lead back, 44-43, entering the final quarter.

And DeWolfe said his squad's fourth-quarter resurgence is a sign of good times for the Sailors, who only have three games left on the regular season.

"It's about what you're going to do right now and playing possession by possession," DeWolfe said. "It's something we were able to do in that third quarter that we weren't maybe able to do this season."

Senior Garrett Bye scored seven points and snagged eight rebounds for the Sailors. Carter Kounovsky added nine points and seven rebounds, and Brody King and Matthew Lanning dropped seven each.

Steamboat is now 11-5 on the season and 6-4 in the 4A Western Slope League heading into Saturday afternoon's game against Summit.

The word momentum gets tossed around a lot in Steamboat's locker room, especially down the final stretch of the season heading into the playoffs. It's something the Sailors will look to build on against a 3-12 Summit squad.

"For us, it's just a matter of doing the same things we were doing well tonight," DeWolfe said. "It will come down to rebounding. Summit is a big, big, strong team."

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