Adams brothers help Steamboat boys basketball to second round of playoffs |

Adams brothers help Steamboat boys basketball to second round of playoffs

Steamboat Springs senior basketball player Kellen Adams weaves through defenders during a first-round playoff game against Coronado on Wednesday, Feb. 23.
Shelby Reardon/Steamboat Pilot & Today

The Steamboat Springs High School boys basketball team is back.

The Sailors ended the regular season on a three-game losing streak, but still secured the No. 23 seed and a home playoff game against No. 42 Coronado on Wednesday, Feb. 23.

With the season on the line, the Sailors fell back into their winning habits and defeated Coronado 59-36.

Coach Michael Vandahl’s defense-first equation was in full effect in the first-round win.

The biggest defensive burden fell to senior Kellen Adams, who was given the task of guarding senior Rayzel Cunningham, who averaged 19.7 points per game this season.

Strong defense prevented Coronado from scoring on every possession. They scored just twice in the first quarter, during which the Sailors developed a 14-4 lead. Defensive rebounds played a big role in eliminating second-chance shots for Coronado.

“It all starts on defense,” Adams said. “We locked into our scouting report, we took out their best player, No. 10. He was averaging 20 points. He’s a shooter. We didn’t let him shoot a (3-pointer) all game.”

Adams was being modest. The ‘we’ that didn’t allow Cunningham to shoot a 3-pointer, was him.

A lead took pressure off the Steamboat offense. They were able to be patient for the first time in weeks and find the best shot, not the quick shot.

“We weren’t forcing stuff and we were playing together,” Vandahl said. “We were waiting to get the shot we wanted instead of taking the first shot that came to us. We just got back to what we needed to do.”

Since he was focusing on defense, Adams’ offense slipped a little below his average. He still had seven assists, though.

Since Kellen wasn’t scoring as much, his younger brother Brady stepped up. Brady averages three points per game and two rebounds. On Wednesday, he tripled that. Brady picked up eight rebounds and scored 10 points.

“It was a really good night for me. It was a team effort. We played really good defense. We were really composed,” he said. “I was shooting really well. I had confidence and we were moving the ball. It felt good.”

The pair have always gotten along and that translates into great communication on the court.

“It helps our chemistry for sure,” Brady said.

Vandahl said their demeanors complement each other well.

“I think they get along pretty well,” he said. “Brady’s got kind of a funny personality. He’s kind of a character. Kellen’s pretty low key. They’re great athletes and good kids.”

The win sends Steamboat to a second-round game at No. 10 Green Mountain on Saturday, Feb. 26.

“We play a really good team in Green Mountain, We play at their place so it’s going to be a lot of fun. If we play like this, we’re capable of beating anyone.

No. 23 Steamboat Springs 59, No. 42 Coronado 36

C 4 13 9 10 – 36

SS 14 14 14 17 – 59

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