Sailors remain perfect |

Sailors remain perfect

Steamboat boys have yet to lose in league play

Steamboat Springs junior Michael Vandahl looks for an open man during the second half Saturday night. Steamboat beat Glenwood Springs 56-54.
Matt Stensland

— For the first time all season, the Steamboat Springs boys basketball team found itself in a dog fight against a league opponent.

But for the eighth time in as many chances, Steamboat once again willed itself to a victory, downing Glenwood Springs 56-54 on Saturday night.

“You could see that (Glenwood) is the most balanced team in the league in terms of their athleticism and inside-outside balance,” said Sailors coach Kelly Meek, whose team improved to 13-3 overall and 8-0 in league play. “They can create some problems.”

The Sailors hadn’t won a league game all year by fewer than 10 points and on Saturday it looked like that trend would continue.

After taking a three-point lead into the second quarter, at 14-11, Steamboat began to show why the team is the class of the Western Slope League.

Behind Aaron Calkins and Michael Vandahl, the Sailors opened the second quarter on a 10-4 run. Calkins hit two 3-pointers and Vandahl hit another to give the Sailors a nine point lead, at 31-22, heading into halftime.

Steamboat extended its lead to 16 at 38-22 with 6 minutes, 51 seconds left in the third quarter, before Glenwood (11-6, 6-2) started to mount its comeback.

Glenwood chipped the lead down to eight heading into the fourth quarter behind buckets from Dakota Stonehouse and Kevin Warkentin.

After Steamboat extended its lead back to 10 at 53-43 just two minutes into the final quarter, Glenwood made one last charge.

Back-to-back jumpers from Cody Nelson and free throws by Pat Waller and Tucker Riley cut the lead to just four at 53-49 with 3:43 left.

Steamboat’s Colby Kostur pushed the lead back to six with a jumper, before Glenwood’s Kevin Screen hit a 3-pointer with 41 seconds left to make it 55-52.

Steamboat missed the front end of a 1-and-1, and Stonehouse had an opportunity to tie it from the corner, but his 3-point attempt went long.

Kostur then made 1-of-2 at the line to push the lead to four, at 56-52. Stonehouse made a layup with 1.2 seconds left, but Steamboat was able to inbound the ball for the win.

“They’re doing real well,” Glenwood coach Greg Hire said. “Each game we’re getting better and better. I think we showed it (Saturday).”

Calkins led Steamboat with 23 points, six assists and five rebounds. Kostur added 15 points and seven rebounds.

The win opens up a two-game lead in the league for Steamboat, but more importantly, Meek said, it gives his players important experience in close games.

“You can’t replicate it in practice. You can do whatever you want but you can’t replicate it,” Meek said of playing close games. “You have a crowd, energy and doubts. Every timeout I told them, ‘have poise and confidence,’…and I think we did that really well that last minute and a half.”

– To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229

or e-mail

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