Steamboat boys score 10 in 18 seconds, force OT in Shoot-Out championship
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A desperation 3-point shot from Steamboat’s MAC Riniker as time expired in the fourth quarter set the fans in the gym at Steamboat Springs High School into hysterics, tying a game the Sailors has trailed by double digits merely minutes before.
That forced overtime for the second game in a row as the Sailors strove to win their home tournament, the Steamboat Shoot-Out, for the first time in nearly a decade.
That top-of-the-key trey and a spot in overtime was as far as the magic would take the Sailors, however.
Roosevelt closed things out in overtime to win the Shoot-Out, 67-61.
“One of our pre-season goals was to win this tournament. It’ s a bummer we didn’t do it, but I’m proud of the way we fought,” Steamboat coach Michael Vandahl said.
Steamboat opened the overtime period with a 3-point swish from sophomore Ethan Pyles, but the Roughriders responded with solid, consistent play exemplified by a perfect 12-for-12 performance from the free throw line.
Only a pair of seemingly impossible comebacks from the Sailors made any of it necessary. Steamboat was largely stymied by Roosevelt’s zone defense and scored just seven points in the entire third quarter. It didn’t score at all in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter and trailed by 11.
“That was the first team we’ve played this year that plays zone, so we were a little hesitant,” Riniker said. “We were swinging it around up top looking for an easy shot when we should have created it.”
Pyles splashed a 3-point shot with 3:35 remaining in the game, however, and that seemed to light a spark.
Riniker stole the ball and scored moments later. Tyler Doyne did the same and the Sailors pulled within one when Jake Berry buried a 3 with 1:46 remaining.
Roosevelt extended the lead once more and led by seven as Steamboat brought the ball up with just 20 seconds to play.
Seven points, 20 seconds, it’s all over but the handshaking, right?
Aden Knaus sank a 3-point shot to cut it to four with 17.6 seconds. Roosevelt scored two on the other end before Pyles scored in the lane with 13 seconds remaining. Riniker scored again after a quick Roosevelt turnover, pulling Steamboat within two.
The Roughriders went 1-for-2 on the ensuing foul and free throws and, with 6.7 seconds, Riniker leaped high to grab the rebound. The Sailors had a play set up, but the play was designed to go to Riniker anyway, so he just kept it, pushed down the court to the top of the key, and rose up for a shot, capping a 10-point, 18-second run.
“I knew we had to get a shot up,” Riniker said. “When I got the rebound, I thought I should just go for it, go down and pull up.”
A win would have been the first for the Sailors in the Shoot-Out championship since 2008, when Vandahl, now the team’s coach, was a senior. Still, the team didn’t walk off overly disappointed. It went 2-1 over the weekend.
The Sailors have just one more game before the winter break, Friday at home against Moffat County.
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