Steamboat Springs boys basketball team’s shots fall short in loss to Mead
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — No. 6 Steamboat Springs Sailors (6-1) felt like every shot was one step forward, but two steps back in its loss to the No. 17 Mead Mavericks (3-3) on Saturday, Dec. 15.
The Mavericks, which play in the mixed Tri-Valley Class 4A/5A league featured a diversified offense much like the Sailors, but capitalized on every opportunity at the basket for a 67-55 victory.
“Obviously, they’re a really good team. They’ve got size. They can shoot,” Sailors head coach Michael Vandahl said. “They’re hard to score on. There’s a reason we scheduled them. We wanted to challenge ourselves and get ready to play playoff basketball and that’s kind of what it was.”
The shots weren’t falling at first for the Sailors. It didn’t help that dunking in the pregame warmup, which warrants a technical foul, meant they started in a three-point deficit.
“We wanted it so bad, started to press a little bit, but sometimes the shots just don’t fall,” Vandahl said. “We always seem to rely on our defense and today the defense wasn’t good enough.”
The Sailors fell to an 18-11 deficit in the first quarter, then brought themselves within 3 on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Connor Hansen just before the half, 37-34.
But following halftime, the Sailors would only score 5 points to the Mavericks’ 12 until junior Ethan Pyles knocked in a 3-pointer far outside the arch to make it 49-42 heading into the fourth quarter.
But the Sailors struggled to charge through the Mavericks’ defense for 2-point field goals, and found too much comfort shooting from the outside. They would take 26 attempts from beyond the arch, making only six of them. The 2-point field goal percentage lingered at 53 percent.
“We’ve got to go back to the drawing board on our motion offense,” Vandahl said. “Guys weren’t moving the way we usually do. We played inside out. We moved the ball. We got what we wanted, but I felt like we just settled for 3-pointers.”
There were some flashes of excitement as the Sailors managed to stay in contention until the very end.
Senior Tyler Doyne kicked off the fourth quarter stealing the Mavericks’ opening pass inbounds, driving to the basket before passing it to senior Aden Knaus to make the layup.
Knaus continued to drive to the basket in the fourth, something the Sailors had struggled to do all game. He ended the game with 17 points as the top scorer. Senior Mac Riniker had 12 points and 12 rebounds while junior Dawson Lindquist also concluded with a double-double performance with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
“We played a really hard schedule this preseason,” Vandahl said. “Prior to Christmas, and we’re 6-2. Again, we’re going to take this and learn a lesson from it. We’ve got to have some pretty competitive practices and it’s a long season.”
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