Steamboat boys basketball falls in Sweet 16, earns 3 all-conference honors
Advancing to the Sweet 16 for the third straight season, the Steamboat Springs boys basketball team was one quarter away from the Elite 8 in the Colorado High School Activities Association state tournament on Saturday, Feb. 25.
The No. 18 Sailors and No. 2 Resurrection Christian were tied at 31 going into the fourth quarter. However, a slow quarter for Steamboat saw the Cougars win 46-35.
Head coach Mike Vandahl thought his team played really hard and executed the game plan well, the boys just went up against a juggernaut.
Vandahl highlighted how impressed he was from the leadership of his players and their ability to fight through adversity all season. Dealing with injuries, the team was never at full strength for a single game this season.
“We had guys sick during the Sweet 16 game, so I was proud of them for facing adversity throughout the year,” Vandahl said. “It didn’t matter, the next guy would step up and there were no egos.”
Despite winning the 4A Western Slope division, Steamboat was only able to take on the No. 18 ranking in the playoffs and did not get to host a postseason game.
Vandahl said the team’s ranking did not matter to him and he passed on that mentality throughout the team.
While the season has come to a close for the Sailors, three of the team’s athletes have been honored with first team all-conference recognition. Seniors Ethan Hoy and Cade Gedeon, along with sophomore Jeffrey Sturges have been named to the all-conference team with senior Austin Moore and junior Brady Adams earning honorable mentions.
Coaches across the division vote for players and coaches to receive these honors, meaning Vandahl and his five players were recognized across the 4A Mountain Slope for their successes this year.
Vandahl was voted coach of the year by his peers after coaching his team to a 17-6 regular season record and getting to the Sweet 16 yet again.
“That award really belongs to not just me but my entire coaching staff of Tanner Stillwell, Luke DeWolfe, Jim Bronner and Dawson Lindquist,” Vandahl said. “They deserve a lot of credit.”
Vandahl is sad to see his strong senior group leave and hopes to continue the legacy they will leave behind them.
“I’m super proud of this group and what they accomplished with all the injuries they faced and the adversity,” Vandahl said. “I think we were capable of getting farther but it didn’t bounce our way. I’m proud of this group and these seniors for the imprint they left on the program.”
To reach Tom Skulski, call 970-871-4240, email tskulski@SteamboatPilot.com.
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