Sailors win back-to-back games against Battle Mountain |

Sailors boys basketball wins back-to-back games against Battle Mountain

Steamboat Springs High School junior Ethan Pyles charges toward the basket against Battle Mountain at a home game on Wednesday, Feb. 6. (Photo by Leah Vann)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Playing the same opponent two nights in a row is not easy, especially when you travel the first night.

That was the struggle for the Steamboat Springs High School Sailors (17-3, 8-1) against the Battle Mountain Huskies (8-11, 4-5) on Wednesday night.

The Sailors were coming off a 53-47 win over the Huskies on Tuesday, Feb. 5, in enemy territory, but because of a cancelation due to inclement weather conditions on the roads on Jan. 18, their second game against the Huskies was rescheduled for Wednesday, 24 hours after their road contest.

Steamboat boys basketball
Nov. 29: at Centaurus, L 45-34 Nov. 30: at D’Evelyn, W 64-50 Dec. 1: at Sierra, W 61-59 (OT) Dec. 6: vs. Frederick, W 78-48 Dec. 7: vs. Colorado Academy, W 69-58 Dec. 8: vs. Conifer, W 60-34 Dec. 11: at Moffat County, W 56-40 Dec. 15: vs. Mead, L 67-55 Jan. 3: at Skyview, W 51-35 Jan. 4: at Pueblo County, W 48-38 Jan 5: at Denver West, W 62-28 Jan. 11: at Palisade, W 52-38 Jan. 12: at Rifle, W 61-47 Jan. 19: vs. Glenwood Springs, L 54-51 Jan. 22: vs. Eagle Valley, W 68-47 Jan. 25: at Summit, W 53-40 Jan. 31: vs. Rifle, W 59-53 Feb. 2: vs. Palisade, W 50-28 Feb. 5: at Battle Mountain, W 53-47 Feb. 6: vs. Battle Mountain, W 41-32 Feb. 9: at Glenwood Springs, W 72-46 Feb. 14: at Eagle Valley, W 71-32 Feb. 16: vs. Summit, 54-35

“We got back at 12:30 last night,” Sailors head coach Michael Vandahl said. “I’m really really proud of our guys for gutting that out. They were tired, and I could see it.”

But the Sailors managed back-to-back victories, squeaking out a 41-32 victory at home on Wednesday to cap off the two nights.

“It wasn’t easy, they did what they needed to do to get a win,” Vandahl said.

Steamboat struggled to find the basket in the first half, allowing the Huskies to jump to a 13-8 lead in the first quarter.

The Sailors grabbed several rebounds, but every shot felt rushed as the Huskies defense applied pressure. Steamboat started to narrow the deficit in the second quarter. Sailors senior Mac Riniker bolted down the court for a dunk, and knocked a shot loose on defense.

Sailors senior Jack Martin tried a 3-pointer just before the half, but the shot kissed the rim as the buzzer blew and the Huskies still held the lead 18-17 going into the half.

The exhaustion wore on the Sailors in the third quarter and it was apparent by the sloppiness of loose dribbling and missed shots.

Battle Mountain extended a 25-19 lead, and with just over 3 minutes left, senior Tyler Doyne scrambled to save a loose ball on offense, knocking it clear across the court. The ball traveled down towards the Huskies’ basket and Huskies senior Baker Gentry picked the ball up to go for the shot. Riniker came flying behind, knocking the shot out of contention, saving the play.

A basket by senior Tyler Doyne brought the Sailors to 25-21 deficit and junior Ethan Pyles laid a shot from the outside to add three. Junior Dawson Linquist scored from near the top of the paint to tie it up 27-27, but the Huskies stayed one step ahead, taking the ball down for a 29-27 score going into the fourth quarter.

Riniker kicked off the fourth quarter tying up the game at 29-29, then lifted the Sailors to their first lead by plowing through the paint for a layup 31-29.

The rest wrote itself as the Sailors tactfully eliminated the Huskies’ offense and sink shots in on their side of the court.

Riniker finished with 20 points, six rebounds, five steals and three blocks. Sailors junior Dawson Lindquist finished with 10 points and six rebounds.

The Sailors play Glenwood Springs (15-4, 8-0) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, in Glenwood Springs.

“No. 1 [we need to] rest, we kind of need to recover because I know they’re exhausted,” Vandahl said. “We probably have a light practice tomorrow. We’re not going to reinvent the wheel right now. We’re just ironing things out and making sure we’re ready to go.”

To reach Leah Vann, call 970-871-4253, email or follow her on Twitter @LVann_Sports.

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