Strong defense with a sputtering offense: Steamboat suffers fourth loss of season

Steamboat junior Brady Adams takes the ball down the court to set up an offensive play in the first quarter of a Steamboat Springs boys basketball game against Centaurus on Friday, Dec. 16, 2022. Steamboat would fall to the Warriors 39-31.
Tom Skulski/Steamboat Pilot & Today

With a front-loaded schedule full of top Colorado opponents, Steamboat boys basketball’s 3-4 record may be a lot better than it seems. 

The team struggles on the offensive side of the ball, averaging less than 40 points per game, but the boys have been able to stay in games with their stellar defense.

Matching up against Centaurus on Friday, Dec. 16, the Sailors got off to an early 13-6 lead. It was the middle two quarters where the boys struggled on offense, scoring just five points in those 16 minutes.

Steamboat kept the visiting Warriors close, and despite a dramatic finish, the home team suffered its fourth loss of the season 39-31.

“To beat a team like that, we don’t have any room for error right now with our offense sputtering like it’s doing,” said Sailors head coach Mike Vandahl. “We’ve got to wrap up every rebound, can’t have those little mess ups. I think we’re really close but the guys have to believe in themselves and believe in their own offense.”

Steamboat shot just 35% from the floor and threw up desperation three-point shots in the third quarter that would not fall. 

Senior Austin Moore put up five points in the game but made an even bigger contribution as a voice both on and off the floor. Moore says he takes his role as a leader to heart and he is confident the team will turn it back around soon. 

Junior Jeffrey Sturges drives the ball to the hoop around a Centaurus defender in a Steamboat Springs boys basketball game on Friday, Dec. 16, 2022. Sturges led the team in points with 14 on 50% shooting.
Tom Skulski/Steamboat Pilot & Today

“We need players to step up and make shots,” Moore said. “Defensively we had a great game, we just didn’t rebound or shoot the ball well enough to come out with a win.”

Before the long holiday break, the Sailors matched up against another strong opponent in Lewis Palmer at home on Saturday, Dec. 17. 

Vandahl acknowledges the difficulty of the matchup and thinks his boys are prepared for anything. He wants to work them hard ahead of a two-week hiatus from game play. 

“We’ve gotten the program to the point where the boys don’t fear anybody anymore,” Vandahl said. “We expect to hang with the best teams in the state so that’s what we want. We want to be playing these teams because it really does us no good to go get a bunch of wins against teams who aren’t going to expose us and show us what we need to get better at.”

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