Sailors girls basketball snap to it, pick up big win
Steamboat Springs — The Steamboat Springs High School girls basketball team has won games before. Heading into Saturday morning’s finale of the Steamboat Shoot-Out, it had already won twice this season.
It’s been awhile since the Sailors won a game quite like Saturday’s, however.
Crushed both on the scoreboard and emotionally in their first two games of the tournament, Steamboat rallied in a big way to beat Frederick, 59-51.
“This one was a lot different, just because of the last two days,” Steamboat coach Mack Spitellie said. “The team just went into a shell and was so afraid. Now they broke out of the shell.”
The first defining moment of the weekend for Steamboat was a season-ending injury to leading scorer Annie Osbourne in the first quarter of the first game of the tournament.
The team did not respond well.
It didn’t score a basket in the second half of that game, eventually losing, 29-15.
A day later against Elizabeth, the team still was quaking and lost, 61-24, to Elizabeth.
Early Saturday, it appeared the Sailors still were in their slumber as they sank into a 20-5 hole early in the second quarter.
“By Annie being out, one of our best players, it struck the team. We didn’t know how to react,” senior Savannah Bauknecht said. “I personally was really down. Annie and I are best friends. We just needed to figure out how to play without her.”
The second defining moment of the weekend came when the lights came back on for the Sailors. In the second quarter Saturday, everything changed.
Frederick punished Steamboat early with an aggressive full-court press, building that lead, but when the Sailors came alive, they beat it regularly.
That 15-point deficit was soon 12. Bauknecht helped bring backbone to the team against that press, and she helped cut the gap to nine when she found Ellie Crouch on a fast break for a layup.
Steamboat kept digging in the third quarter. Kady Look sank a 3-point shot, then scored on the next possession, as well, cutting the lead to four. Ellie Crouch — the last pass on Steamboat’s pass break and thus a layup machine for the team — scored to tie the game and soon the Sailors soon took the lead, 43-41.
“We were just dribbling against the press in the first half,” Bauknecht said. “What we found was if we hit the middle with a pass, then the sideline, we’d beat it every single time.”
And they did, catching, then passing Frederick, then building a lead. The Frederick coaching staff drew three technical fouls late in the game, and those free throws helped pad a win the Sailors already had earned.
Look led the team with 19 points, 12 in the second half. Crouch and Bauknecht each had 12, all of Bauknecht’s coming from the free-throw line. Frederick’s Alex Dufour led all scorers with 22 points.
“The team came out of its shell. We have tough games coming, but now we can compete,” Spitellie said.
Steamboat, 3-3, next plays Wednesday at home against Rifle.
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