Kostur, Barney score 39 in win | SteamboatToday.com

Kostur, Barney score 39 in win

Steamboat girls notch league victory

Melinda Mawdsley

The lesson, as always, is to follow your gut feeling.

Steamboat Springs girls basketball coach Ashley Berggren went with hers and started junior Ann Barney for the first time all season. It was Barney’s first varsity start, and she finished with 17 points to help lead Steamboat past Palisade, 68-54.

Sailors senior Kayla Kostur led all scorers with 22 points and pulled down 16 rebounds Friday, but it was the combination of Kostur and Steamboat’s perimeter shooters, particularly Barney, that paved the way for the team to pick up its first Western Slope League win of the season.

“It paid off,” Berggren said about her decision to start Barney. “She just provides consistency and stability. I feel like I know what I’m going to get from Ann. She stepped up (Friday).”

Besides Barney and Kostur, no other Steamboat players were in double figures, but the Sailors got quality minutes from nearly all their reserves, and more importantly, points from the outside.

“I wasn’t thinking about (scoring) that much,” Barney said. “It just happened. We’ve been working on our outside shot, doing shooting drills in practice.”

Tara King, Haley Gallagher, Missy Chotvacs, Kelly Labor, Jessica Peters and Madison Proper hit open looks for Steamboat in Friday’s win. King also pulled down seven rebounds.

Palisade’s duo of Kaitlyn Edmiston and Krysten Hayes combined to score 34 points, but it wasn’t enough down the stretch. Steamboat made enough free throws, and Palisade turned the ball over twice in the game’s final two minutes to preserve the win for the Sailors.

The score was tied at 31-31 at halftime, but Chotvacs gave the Sailors the lead permanently when she hit an open 3-pointer in the first minute of the second half.

Chotvacs, who spent most of the game in foul trouble, scored just five points, but all were in the second half, including two free throws with 1 minute, 40 seconds left in the game to give Steamboat an eight-point lead.

The Bulldogs never got closer.

Steamboat defeated Palisade earlier this year in a nonleague game. Kostur had 32 in the win, which prompted Bulldogs coach Kelli O’Dwyer to pack the defenders down low early. As soon as Steamboat proved it was going to hit the open shot, things opened up inside, which is precisely what Berggren has been waiting to see.

“The scouting report is if you stop Kayla, you’ll win,” Berggren said. “Everyone needs to be a threat. We need the shooters. They need to build confidence in themselves.”

Friday’s win should provide something to build on. The Sailors (3-7 overall, 1-1 in league play) return to the court at 4:30 p.m. today against Delta at Steamboat Springs High School.

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