Steamboat, Hayden basketball set for preseason scrimmage |

Steamboat, Hayden basketball set for preseason scrimmage

Steamboat Springs High School boys basketball coach Luke DeWolfe coaches his team during practice Friday. The Sailors take to the court Saturday against Hayden in a scrimmage.

— For the Hayden High School boys basketball team, it will be an early chance to vindicate some big-time preseason ambition.

For the Steamboat boys team, it's a chance to test mettle and match wits with one of the best squads in the region — albeit a team from a far smaller class.

The Sailors will play host to the Tigers for an 11 a.m. scrimmage Saturday, and it's an opportunity both teams are relishing.

"We're really looking forward to that. They're an up-and-coming team with good height and some seasoned upperclassmen and underclassmen," Hayden coach Mike Luppes said. "Any time we get together with a bigger school like that, it's going to be a challenge for us."

There's plenty both sides will be looking for.

For Steamboat, the game will be all about experience, or how quickly a young squad can gain some.

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"It will just come down to getting minutes on the court," Sailors coach Luke DeWolfe said. "At this point, it's less about what the other teams are doing and more about what we're doing. These early season scrimmages, I don't pay much attention to the other team at all. It's about figuring out where we need to go."

The Sailors open their season next week with a trip to Roaring Fork, and DeWolfe said there's plenty to nail down before they board that bus.

"We need to get guys the opportunity to see the speed at which a varsity basketball game actually moves and to understand the amount of work and effort it takes to be successful at that level, especially defensively," DeWolfe said.

Luppes, too, said he'd have an eye on his defense. The Tigers return four starters and the vast majority of their points from a year ago. Offensively, this is a team that has gotten it done.

Defensively, however, Luppes said there's room for improvement, and that can start Saturday.

"Defense is one of the biggest things we need to improve on," Luppes said. "We are fairly confident we can score, but getting that defense going is something we have been focused on."

Hayden kicks off its season Thursday with a trip to cross-county rival Soroco.

The scrimmage is sure to offer clues about each team's hopes this season. It also could provide a preview for next month's Steamboat Springs Shoot-Out. The Sailors, of course, will host that event, and Hayden will play this year.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email