Second-half surge leads Sailors over Battle Mountain |

Second-half surge leads Sailors over Battle Mountain

Steamboat senior Austin Kerbs goes high to lay in a basket Tuesday against Battle Mountain. Kerbs finished with 11 points, helping the Sailors come back from a first-half hole to beat the Huskies, 45-33.
Joel Reichenberger

— Steamboat Springs High School senior Austin Kerbs said he was shaking Tuesday night, senior night, as the boys basketball team’s lineup was introduced.

“I was nervous in the beginning,” Kerbs said, reflecting on the emotions of his final regular season home game.

The whole team seemed to have some butterflies in the first half, but the Sailors were overwhelming in the second, beating Battle Mountain 45-33 to keep hopes of a Western Slope league title alive.

Steamboat trailed by one after the first half but outscored the Huskies 31-13 in the second to secure the win.

“We went into the locker room and our coach told us we were a better team than what we were playing like,” Kerbs said. “We were playing like individuals, but in the second half, we got together, slowed it down and played our tempo to make sure we got the outcome we wanted.”

Everything simply worked better in the second half.

Garrett Bye was more effective rebounding the ball. He finished with 10 boards.

Robi Powers was more effective shooting, scoring 11 of his game-high 16 points.

Kerbs was a whirling ball of energy for the squad, racking up 11 points and five rebounds, while Brody King helped run the show at point.

The Huskies got 16 points from Owen Riley but couldn’t find enough help from anywhere else to stay in the game.

Bye scored to open the second half and retake the lead. Powers put back an offensive rebound for two points then turned another in a 3-pointer. After Bye put back an offensive rebound of his own, the gap was growing quickly.

“We had to refocus ourselves at halftime and get back to playing solid basketball,” Steamboat coach Luke DeWolfe said. “We did a much better job in the second half defensively, too. The guys we depend on really stepped up.”

Now, Steamboat, 13-4 and 10-1, plays two games, needing to win both to have a share of the league championship. The first is Thursday at Summit, a team the Sailors beat 51-36 last month.

They swear they’re not overlooking them, but it’d be hard not to.

The second game is Saturday on the road against Glenwood Springs, winners of a 45-38 duel in Steamboat Jan. 20.

“We don’t want to overlook Summit, but Glenwood is a big game,” Kerbs said. “We’re trying to focus on Thursday, and after that, we’ll focus on Glenwood.”

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email or follow him on Twitter @JReich9

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