Steamboat Shootout to host competitive basketball weekend
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The annual Steamboat Shootout high school basketball tournament kicks off Thursday at Steamboat Springs High School.
The tournament, which fields both boys and girls teams, hosts some of the top teams in Colorado and will run through Saturday, Dec. 8.
“Everybody’s good in this tournament; there are really no cupcake games,” Steamboat Springs boys head coach Michael Vandahl said. “Teams really like to come up here. People are constantly trying to get into this tournament.”
This year, the boys tournament will host Colorado Academy, which is currently ranked No. 1 in Class 3A, as well as Colorado Academy, Conifer, Northridge, Woodland Park, Eagle Valley, Frederick and Roosevelt, the team the Sailors lost to in the tournament championship last year.
Frederick, which stands just behind the No. 15 Sailors in the Class 4A RPI standings at No. 16, plays in a highly competitive league. The Sailors will open up the competition against the Warriors at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
Last week, the Sailors went 2-1 at the Preview Classic in Golden. After dropping their first game to Centaurus, 45-34, the Sailors rallied for a 64-47 victory over D’Evelyn and an overtime victory over Sierra 61-59.
“I was actually kind of glad that happened, because we learned a valuable lesson and came out really well,” Vandahl said. “We were tied together as a fist the next two games.”
One of the most notable players was senior Mac Riniker, who shot 69 percent from the field for 60 points on the weekend. But Vandahl said seniors Aden Knaus and Tyler Doyne have also stepped up.
“Tyler doesn’t care if he scores or not,” Vandahl said. “But he’s always a really good defender, he rebounds, he gets us in the right sets.
“Aden is an outstanding communicator, great shooter, great rebounder,” Vandahl added. “They’re just solid players.”
Doyne shot 63 percent from the field, including a 16-point game against Sierra where he also had four rebounds. As a seasoned senior playing in the varsity program, Doyne knows the Steamboat Shootout is just the beginning of what he hopes is a long season of basketball.
“I think it’s not about how we do,” Doyne said. “It’s about what we learn, and it’s all building towards the end of the year during playoffs.”
Doyne is one of 10 players on the varsity team of 12 standing over 6 feet tall; he’s 6-foot-4. Doyne wants to use that size to his advantage in his own game, knocking in some dunks.
“I’m just excited to play in front of the home crowd, finally,” Doyne said. “And just have a lot of fun with my team.”
The girls team comes off a 0-2 performance in Carbondale last weekend. The Sailors fell 48-25 to Roaring Fork and 47-19 to Coal Ridge.
But the Sailors forced 28 turnovers against Roaring Fork, showing promise on defense. They just need to learn how to capitalize on their opportunities.
“We just need to learn to finish,” head coach George Ibarra said. “We did a lot of shooting this week in preparation for it (the Shootout), and they seemed to have gotten all those nerves out.”
In addition, the team was missing four starters due to SAT testing on Saturday.
Junior Shelbee Weiss, a two-year varsity veteran, feels confident the Sailors’ offensive production will step up. Weiss comes off a weekend as one of the team’s top players.
The team also has grown in experience this year with two seniors and five juniors out of 13 on the roster.
“I think our team needs to slow down on offense a lot,” Weiss said. “But it’s good we’re so energetic on defense. We need to understand it’s our turn, it’s our ball. We need to slow down our minds.”
The girls side of the tournament will host Soroco, Eagle Valley, Mead, Conifer, Northridge, Prairie View and Frederick. The Sailors will tip off against Frederick at 8:15 p.m. Thursday.
“I want to show people this is our year,” Weiss said. “We were playing girls who were older than us and now it’s our time to shine.”
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