Falcon runs Steamboat into the ground, 82-24 | SteamboatToday.com

Falcon runs Steamboat into the ground, 82-24

Dave Shively

Sailor Lizzie Stoll draws a foul during Saturday morning's finale game for the Sailors in the Steamboat Springs Shoot-Out. Steamboat lost, 82-24, to Falcon.

— If Steamboat Springs girls basketball coach John Ameen rested easy after his team’s Thursday and Friday performances in the Steamboat Springs Shoot-Out, Saturday’s game against Falcon was a harsh wake-up call.

“Today I think we took almost two steps back,” Ameen said a day after believing the Sailors had made good progress in their first two games of Steamboat’s annual tournament.

But what began with an early 8 a.m. tip-off for the tournament’s seventh-place finish ended in a lopsided 82-24 Falcon victory.

Falcon came into the game after losing its opening-round game to Montrose, one of the tournament’s top teams, and falling in a close game to rival Woodland Park.

Falcon could do little wrong Saturday morning. The team went 10-of-12 from the free-throw line and seemingly finished all of its layups and other easy shots. Falcon coach Dennis Coates said his team finally did “the little things” it hadn’t done in the previous games.

“We just did things well today and all the breaks went our way,” Coates said. “Once things get rolling they tend to snowball. It’s easy to play hard when things are going well.”

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The opposite was true for the Sailors, who failed to net a field goal for the first seven and a half minutes of the game.

Steamboat struggled to move the ball past Falcon’s full-court pressure to get set looks on offense. Meanwhile, Falcon’s Amber Wilmore got hot in the second quarter, when she scored nine of her team-high 24 points.

Baskets from Brittany Long and Gracie Stockdale could not counter Steamboat’s miscues. The turnovers were compounded by Falcon’s defensive tenacity as Caitlyn Stell grabbed a pair of steals to put Falcon up 36-12 at the half.

“In the first half we were playing our game, but as the game progressed we just became weaker and weaker,” said Stockdale, who lead the Sailors with eight points.

With the Falcon girls grabbing rebounds and jumping passing lanes, the steals and breakaways began to add up in the second half. The Falcons finished with 19 steals, most of them by Stell, Jennifer Escobedo and Vicki Miller.

“If we played with the team energy we had last night against Aspen, we probably could have won,” Stockdale said. “But with a big, tough, physical team like that, we need to adjust. We were playing small, mentally, and without a lot of height on our team, we need to get better and play big.”

Ameen echoed Stockdale’s concerns about the need to establish a more aggressive team mentality.

“It’s the cliche of not grabbing the bull by the horns,” he said. “We’re just going through the motions : They have to find that attitude within themselves.”

Lizzie Stoll led the Sailors with eight rebounds, followed by five from Colleen King.

Steamboat’s next games are at the Flaming Gorge Tournament in Green River, Utah. The tournament is Thursday through Saturday.

In the championship game Green River, Wyo. defeated Montrose, 36-34.

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