Steamboat girls basketball can’t hang with league-leading Palisade |

Steamboat girls basketball can’t hang with league-leading Palisade

Ben Ingersoll

Steamboat Springs junior Maddie Clock smothers Palisade's Abby Thiessen in the second half of the Sailors' 50-32 loss at home Saturday.

— If you take the little things away, Steamboat Springs High School girls basketball coach Mack Spitellie says, then the Sailors are right there with just about anyone in their league.

The problem is, the little things are what make the Palisade Bulldogs the 4A Western Slope’s best team, and it again showed Saturday.

The Bulldogs weathered a strong start from Steamboat to methodically collapse the Sailors’ hopes en route to a 50-32 win. Steamboat now is 4-12 and 1-9 in conference play.

The Sailors, however, played some of their best basketball Saturday, exchanging leads with Palisade throughout a stellar first quarter. Steamboat trailed, 15-14, through eight minutes of play and 26-19 at halftime.

But pure talent on the Bulldogs’ roster, led by Casey Brown (15 points) and Ashlyn Brown (14 points) did the Sailors in after halftime.

"We’re young and we’re working through all the injuries," Spitellie said. "I thought we played great the entire game, we just got outplayed. They’re better than us."

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Steamboat junior Maddie Clock played as well — perhaps better — as any Palisade Bulldog. Using dashing drives and strong finishes around the rim, Clock led all scorers Saturday with 16 points. She also snagged 11 rebounds for the double-double effort.

"She just had a phenomenal game," Spitellie said about his leading scorer.

Steamboat played a relatively clean game in the turnover department. The Sailors coughed up eight turnovers in the second quarter alone, but gave up just eight in the other three quarters combined. They forced Palisade into 12 turnovers in the 32 minutes.

There were times, though, that Palisade couldn’t miss outside jumpers, and the Bulldogs nailed 20 of their 27 free throws to salt away any chance of a Steamboat comeback.

"We are playing better D," Spitellie said. "We’re actually starting to see defense help a little better. They shot the ball well and shot it well from outside, especially."

Megan Limberg was Steamboat’s second-leading scorer with six points on a pair of 3-pointers. Savannah Bauknecht had four points and four rebounds, and Jenna Miller, Alex Bryant and Tess Richey each had two points.

Steamboat has a little time off before it plays another strong Western Slope opponent in Delta on Saturday. The Sailors struggled mightily the last time the two teams met, an 80-33 Panthers victory.

Tipoff for that game is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.

To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll