Steamboat basketball senior leads on and off court, hopes for long playoff run |

Steamboat basketball senior leads on and off court, hopes for long playoff run

Steamboat Springs senior Jimmy Osbourn goes up for a dunk at practice on Tuesday, Feb. 19, at Steamboat Springs High School. (Photo by Leah Vann)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Springs High School senior Jimmy Osbourn enters most games toward the end, adding a basket or two to elevate the final score.

Playoff game No. 1

What: Steamboat Springs vs. Canon City
When: 5 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 23
Where: Steamboat Springs High School, 45 E. Maple St.

When on a team like the Sailors, the talent runs deep, meaning that anyone can step up, but there’s always going to be players who have to sit the bench. Osbourn has been on varsity for two years as one of those players, but his value to the team extends beyond the court.

“I think Jimmy’s been everything to us this season,” Sailors head coach Michael Vandahl said. “He hasn’t gotten the playing time that he wanted, but he’s never held his head, and he’s played his role and been the ultimate team player. He’s been extremely valuable for us, and the guys love him out here.”

Osbourn, a 6-foot-4 post player, started playing basketball because his sister Annie did. He’s also followed her lead as a volunteer for STARS — Steamboat Adaptive Recreational Sports — as a mentor.

“You’re paired with a client with special needs and mentor them through the summer and do fun activities,” Osbourn said. “We do a lot of horseback riding, kayaking at the lake, paddleboarding, hiking — any outdoor recreational opportunity STARS has to offer.”

As a mentor, Osbourn has been inspired to pursue special education. He’s hoping to attend the University of Northern Colorado or Colorado Mesa University next year to become a special education teacher.

“It’s just really nice to make a bond with the kids, being a friend and giving them an opportunity in a setting that they enjoying being in,” Osbourn said. “Because in school, they might not be having the most fun, so it’s really nice to be a part of that.”

Osbourn emphasizes the importance of positivity, and it’s something that has translated well on the basketball court. When the shots aren’t falling, the Sailors have managed to stay the course through the lulls to achieve a 20-3 overall record and No. 3 state ranking.

When the baskets pile in, the Sailors capitalize on opportunities. After a 54-51 loss to Glenwood Springs at home on Jan. 19, the Sailors defeated the Demons, 72-46, on Feb. 9.

“Beating Glenwood at Glenwood was really fun because the crowd started chanting stuff at us, and when we came out, we just kind of shut them up,” Osbourn said. “It was a really fun feeling.”

Osbourn has remained a member of the Sailors team, not only because of its success, but because of the brotherhood he’s developed.

“I think we have a deep run to go on,” Osbourn said. “So, I’m just going to enjoy being with all my friends and continuing on this journey.”

Steamboat (20-3, 11-1) enjoys a first-round bye before hosting Canon City (15-9, 10-6) at 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23. If the Sailors win, they will host their next opponent at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27.

“Come watch us play,” Osbourn said. “You can’t really describe how we play. You just have to be there. We don’t seem like the kind of mountain town to be good at basketball, but we are one of the top teams.”

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

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.