‘It was just over:’ Steamboat boys surrender lead late, Mitchell muscles to playoff upset
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Dawson Lindquist thought the shot was in. Actually, everyone thought it was in.
As the Steamboat Springs High School senior threw up a last-second 3-pointer, the student section screamed in awe. The trajectory was perfect, and the fans knew it. As the game-winning shot sailed towards the net, Lindquist turned to his bench and pumped his fist. The ball flew towards the backboard, bobbled on the rim and fell sideways.
It didn’t go in.
The buzzer sounded, giving No. 43 Mitchell the 47-44 win over No. 22 Steamboat Springs in a first-round state playoff upset on Wednesday, Feb. 26.
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“I thought it was in,” said Lindquist. “It just bounced out, and that was that. It was just over.”
Small mistakes proved fatal in the fourth quarter. LeRoy Pruitt, one of 12 seniors that make up the Mitchell squad, stole the ball from Lindquist at mid-court and scored. The Marauders defense, which started stifling the Sailors in the third, got a stop and Mitchell guard Dominik Ferris tied the game at 41 with just over two minutes to play.
After Lindquist used a make to put Steamboat up 43-41, the Sailors got the ball back on the Mitchell end line. Junior Devon Crawford launched the ball over eight players, aiming for Lindquist on the other end. Crawford put too much on the throw, though, so the ball went out of bounds.
With the game tied at 43, Steamboat freshman Cade Gedeon was sent to the foul line. He made his first, but like his teammates, couldn’t sink the second. The Sailors went 7-for-13 from the charity stripe, while the Marauders were nearly perfect, draining 10 of 12.
Down 45-44 with 10.8 seconds left, Lindquist brought the ball up the court, but Pruitt used his quick hands to nab the ball once more and score. With 1.2 seconds left, Lindquist’s 3-pointer attempt was the Sailors’ last hope.
“In reality, our team is talented, but we’re young,” said Steamboat head coach Michael Vandahl. “That was kind of the first big moment for a lot of those guys. Things didn’t bounce our way. … I’m really just proud of this group for who they are on and off the court, especially our two seniors, James (Bogan) and Dawson. They’ve really been good examples.”
Steamboat was ahead most of the game. Buckets from Crawford and Gedeon as well as a 3-pointer from Lindquist gave the Sailors an early 7-0 lead. Gedeon was all over the boards, as was junior Eric Pollert, who scored 13 points, including a dunk to make it 21-14 in the second.
The Marauders suffocated the Sailors offense in the third. Steamboat passed endlessly around the outside. The lanes they were looking for weren’t there. Shots from the outside weren’t falling and passes grew longer and wilder, flying out of bounds.
Fortunately, Steamboat was effective on defense and didn’t allow Mitchell to get any closer than a possession. At least, not until the 2:07 mark of the fourth when Ferris tied the game. He ended the night with a team-high 17 points, while Pruitt added 10. Lindquist led all players with 20 points.
When the game ended, the Mitchell high scorers hugged Lindquist, acknowledging just how hard their opponent had worked.
Lindquist was the last one out of the locker room, taking his time leaving after his final game in a Sailors uniform. When he stepped out, his teary-eyed mom was waiting with a hug.
“I didn’t want it to be my last,” he said. “But it was.”
Mitchell 47, Steamboat Spring 44
M 12 9 12 14 – 47
SS 15 8 14 13 – 44
Scoring: M, Dominik Ferris 17, LeRoy Pruitt 10, Traves Washington 7. SS, Dawson Lindquist 20, Eric Pollert 13, Cade Gedeon 6, Jackson Metzler 3, Devon Crawford 2. Fouls: M, 12. SS, 9. FTs: 10-12. SS, 7-13.
- Dec. 5-7: Steamboat Springs at Preview Classic: L vs. Golden 82-59, L vs. Centaurus 63-45, L vs. Holy Family 52-45
- Dec. 12-14: Steamboat Springs shootout, W vs. Woodland Park 49-46, L vs. Conifer 51-44, L vs. Colorado Academy 73-61
- Dec. 17: Moffat County at Steamboat Springs, W 58-55
- Dec. 21: Steamboat Springs at Mead, L 74-47
- Jan. 2-4: Steamboat Springs at Roosevelt, 2-1
- Jan. 11: Eagle Valley at Steamboat Springs, W 53-41
- Jan. 17: Palisade at Steamboat Springs, W 44-41
- Jan. 18: Rifle at Steamboat Springs, W 59-42
- Jan. 21: Steamboat Springs at Battle Mountain, W 54-42
- Jan. 25: Steamboat Springs at Glenwood Springs, L 58-44
- Jan. 28: Steamboat Springs at Eagle Valley, W 61-59
- Jan. 31: Summit at Steamboat Springs, W 48-33
- Feb. 8: Steamboat Springs at Palisade, L 51-43
- Feb. 13: Battle Mountain at Steamboat Springs, W 55-40
- Feb. 15: Glenwood Springs at Steamboat Springs, 3:30 p.m.
- Feb. 20: Steamboat Springs at Rifle, W 68-25
- Feb. 22: Steamboat Springs at Summit, W 45-39
- Feb. 26: No. 43 Mitchell at Steamboat Springs, L 47-44
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