Steamboat lacrosse squeaks by familiar foe in Sweet 16 round of state tournament
The Steamboat Springs boys lacrosse team’s 13-2 regular season earned the Sailors a bye in the first round of the Colorado High School Activities Association’s 4A state bracket and a home game.
A first-round game resulted in Battle Mountain making the trip to Steamboat. The No. 4 Sailors went into the game knowing they could beat the No. 20 Huskies, having defeated the regional rival 6-3 earlier in the year and 15-9 a week before.
Many expected a dominant win, and the early 5-0 Sailors lead alluded to that, but the home team eked out a 9-8 victory to advance to the round of eight next week.
The lead went back and forth, but heart rates only went up as the Sailors and Huskies exchanged goals in the second half. As the clock ticked below six minutes in the final quarter, the game was tied at eight.
A shot from junior Brady Adams put Steamboat up 9-8 with 5:40 to play.
“I just remember seeing Andrew (Kempers) and Finn (Rodgers), they were gassed,” Adams said. “They had the other team’s best defenders on them. I kind of knew I had to step up.”
The Huskies had an answer for the Sailors all evening, so it was impossible to know if the goal would end up being the game-winner until the final possession.
With 34 seconds left on the clock, Battle Mountain called a timeout to plan its final push to tie it up.
Steamboat senior defender Cade Gedeon said he had his eyes on the Huskies’ top two scorers.
“We thought they wanted to get the ball to their best player, No. 3, on a cut, like a curl through the middle,” he said. “Instead, they sent 19. That’s the only offense they have, so I saw it and tipped it off.”
Gedeon deflected the pass in front of the goal to give Steamboat the ball with little time left. He was the one holding the ball when the buzzer went off.
“We had some seniors who were fighting, fighting and fighting,” said coach Brian Rodgers. “We wouldn’t have won this game without those guys.”
The Sailors scored five goals quickly to open the evening, prompting chants like, “Too easy,” and “Is this even a playoff game?” from the energetic student section. The visiting Huskies reminded the Sailors, however, that it was indeed a postseason matchup, and they were going to make it difficult.
Battle Mountain pulled within one, 5-4, at the half and tied it up with just over five minutes left in the third.
“I would say we got a bit cocky going into the second quarter,” said Finn Rodgers.
“We got complacent,” Gedeon said.
Brian Rodgers knew better than to get comfortable against the Huskies and got his team back on track.
“Battle Mountain is a really well-coached team and they always fight back — that’s their nature,” he said. “Every game we play against them is a nail-biter.”
No one will go into Tuesday’s home game against No. 5 Evergreen with too much confidence. The team will also work on defensive transitions, recovering turnovers and offensive flow.
“We have to play our best against these teams,” Brian Rodgers said. “Every team we see now is really good. Every team we see now has been tested and they’re capable so we have to play great.”
Steamboat Springs 9, Battle Mountain 8
SS 5 0 1 3
BM 0 4 2 2
Shelby Reardon is the assistant editor at the Steamboat Pilot & Today. To reach her, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.