Sailors boys get revenge with home victory against Delta
February 8, 2014
Steamboat Springs — Just like that, Steamboat Springs High School boys basketball is close to having as many wins as it has had in four years — and there still are a few regular-season games to be played.
A night after scrapping their way to a home win against Palisade, the Sailors were at it once again against a tall, physical Delta squad. Steamboat used a big final 12 minutes Saturday afternoon to down the Panthers, 66-54, and improve to 12-5 on the season and 7-4 in the 4A Western Slope League.
Steamboat coach Luke DeWolfe knew what was coming on his team’s home court even before tipoff Saturday. He referenced it following Friday's win against Palisade; Delta is big, tall and loves a physical brand of basketball.
But the Sailors' collective resolve prevailed, even after the Panthers snuck in a lead shortly after halftime.
"We talked about how we really anticipated this game would come down to who gets those rebounds and loose balls and who hits free throws down the stretch," DeWolfe said. "It seems like it's always that kind of game with them. It's physical and it's who's going to play better defense between us? It's less about who's hitting on a certain night."
For Steamboat, no one player shined above the rest, though senior Carter Kounovsky had a game-high 17 points.
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Down low, 6-foot-9 junior Garrett Bye followed up his numerous blocks with an 11-point, five-rebound performance. On the perimeter, Matthew Lanning had 10 points off the bench and starting point guard Brody King gashed his way through the lane for eight points of his own.
But like Palisade the night before, Delta just didn't want to go away until Steamboat finally showed it the exit doors in the final quarter. The Panthers led 17-13 after the first quarter, and Steamboat answered back with a 28-27 halftime lead.
By the fourth quarter, however, the Sailors held a double-digit margin they wouldn't relinquish.
"These close games are fantastic for this team," DeWolfe said. "We have youth with a large contingent of juniors on this team. We talk about it a lot in the locker room on thriving during adversity, those situations where things could turn, how do you react?"
Steamboat avenged a 1-point loss at Delta on Jan. 11 with the win, a game DeWolfe said essentially was a role reversal from Saturday afternoon.
The victory pushed the Sailors' win streak to three games with just three more Western Slope League contests remaining on the regular-season schedule. With each win, Steamboat is inching closer to the conference's top dogs in Palisade, Glenwood Springs and Rifle.
DeWolfe said the team is starting to believe, too, that as long as it continues to follow its winning formula of well-executed defense and team togetherness, the Sailors could shake things up in the upcoming district tournament.
"I still think our best basketball is in front of us," DeWolfe said. "We've definitely taken some strides. This weekend was a big one for us, there's no doubt about it."