Strong start guides Steamboat girls past Montrose
Steamboat Springs — If Steamboat Springs High School girls basketball can put together 28 minutes of its full potential, Sailors coach Mack Spitellie thinks his team could be virtually unstoppable.
Steamboat patched together two-and-a-half quarters of solid defense and commanding offense, and it proved to be good enough to slide past Montrose, 49-44, in the Steamboat Shoot-Out’s No. 3 versus No. 4 game on Saturday.
It was a sigh of relief for the first-year Steamboat coach, whose team slumped in the Shoot-Out’s first round, improved a little in the second round, then finally showed signs of life against the Indians.
“I’ll be honest, we were just moving the ball so well and hitting the open person,” Spitellie said. “That’s what we’re all about. We got great fast-break points today. The push was going great, then we went away from it in the third and fourth quarter.”
The Sailors opened up a sizable 28-15 lead at halftime, holding Montrose to just seven and eight points in the first and second quarters.
The momentum merged a little into the second half, but the wheels fell off a bit. Montrose used a 16-point third quarter to inch back into things, but Steamboat was able to hold off the late rally to improve to 5-1 on the season.
Senior Maggie Crouch let out a yell in the hallway adjacent to Steamboat’s gym following the game, exclaiming her game was finally back. Crouch struggled with her shot in the opening two days of the tournament but turned things on Saturday, leading the Sailors with 14 points.
Fellow senior Mikaila Jegtvig was in double figures as well with 10 points. Amaris Duryea had five, and Ashley Spitellie pitched in four.
“Both ends of the floor we finally put the offense and defense together at the same time,” coach Spitellie said. “We just had a great team effort. It was awesome.”
Steamboat’s 5-1 season start didn’t come without some struggles. Defensively, Spitellie said his team tends to cheat a bit in its full-court press, and inconsistent shooting is holding his team back.
But the steady improvement through the Shoot-Out’s three rounds were welcomed with open arms by the Sailors.
Steamboat will open up league play on Friday in Denver at the Pepsi Center for the Preps-to-Pros series against Glenwood Springs. Tipoff is at 1:15 p.m.
“I told them in the locker room (after the win), if we can transfer what we did for two and a half quarters and get it for four quarters, we’re going to be really good,” Spitellie said.
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