Steamboat boys run past Montezuma-Cortez to advance to 2nd round of Shoot-Out |

Steamboat boys run past Montezuma-Cortez to advance to 2nd round of Shoot-Out

Luke Graham

Garrett Bye throws down a dunk Thursday, much to the amazement of his classmates cheering on the Sailors in the Steamboat Springs High School student section. The Sailors won the game against Montezuma-Cortez and will play at 8:15 p.m. Friday in the semifinals of their tournament, the Steamboat Springs Shoot-Out.

— In a disjointed basketball game, one completely void of flow, the Steamboat Springs High School boys basketball team turned to the thing on which the program was built: defense.

Steamboat forced 25 Montezuma-Cortez turnovers and did just enough on offense to come away with a 50-26 win.

"In the end, our defense did some things that enabled our offense to have success and sustain at certain points of that game," Sailors coach Luke DeWolfe said.

That, in essence, was the game.

Neither team painted a Picasso on the offensive end, each struggling to find semblance of continuity.

But whereas the Panthers never found any sort of rhythm — they had 12 points and 12 turnovers at the half — the Sailors found the necessary runs to put the game away.

Recommended Stories For You

The big one, and what turned out to be the decider, came early in the second quarter. Ahead just 12-10, sophomore center Garrett Bye's followup dunk keyed Steamboat on a 15-0 run to take a 27-10 lead.

"That put back dunk, that's what started the run," Steamboat sophomore Brody King said. "That got us fired up."

But besides that four minutes, the game often was played between the free throw lines.

Luckily for Steamboat, its defense put the clamps on Montezuma-Cortez even when its offense couldn't find its stride. The Sailors were better than the Panthers on offense but struggled with pressure in the second half, committing 18 second-half turnovers.

"We rebounded better," said DeWolfe, whose team had a 43-26 advantage off the glass. "But again, we had some turnovers."

The Sailors did get a balanced effort when the offense was in a flow. Bye led all scores with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Carter Kounovsky and Zach Dunklin each had eight points.

Steamboat will see its firmest test of the year in the next round. The team plays 4A No. 4 D'Evelyn at 8:15 p.m. Friday.

D'Evelyn, which made it to the Great Eight last year, looks even better this year. They return all-state guard Luke Stratman, who scored 53 in a game earlier this year, and a flock of players who play at a breakneck pace.

"I think our young guys will really get a flavor of what the top of 4A looks like," DeWolfe said. "I'm hoping a lot of boys become men that game."

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email