Attitude, belief, confidence: ABC leads to 1-2-3 game win streak for Sailors girls basketball
The Steamboat Springs High School girls basketball team is 3-0 in the Western Slope league thanks to a three-game winning streak over the last week. The success has been as easy as ABC: attitude, belief, confidence.
Of course, it hasn’t been easy as one, two, three to win, but that’s what’s made it satisfying.
Last Friday, Jan. 14, the Sailors beat Palisade 43-34 at home, then traveled to Rifle and won 35-31. Thursday, Jan. 20, the team took on Battle Mountain on the road. At halftime, things looked bleak, but the team turned it around and won 39-37.
“We are finally starting to play with confidence and the girls are really beginning to believe in themselves,” said coach Maggie Crouch. “And they’re starting to see the things we’ve been working on in practice come to life.”
Crouch took over the team from George Ibarra in early December and coached the team to its first win over Conifer in a home tournament. Now, the team is 4-9.
Senior Darby Martinez credits Crouch for the turnaround and said having a positive, female leader has made a world of difference. Her mindset quickly rubbed off on everyone else.
“I think our positive mindset within the team has helped build us up from the bench,” Martinez said. “It all starts on the bench. Whenever we have positive attitudes it helps the rest of the team.”
The first half of Thursday’s game was “absolutely terrifying,” according to Crouch, who said the girls were not put together and didn’t seem quite ready to play. At halftime, down 24-10, she talked about a shift in attitude.
“We talked about the fact that basketball really should be fun,” Crouch said. “We talked about, as a team, how we could be more positive and the fact that we weren’t out of the game. So, we came back into the second half, the third quarter, with the belief the game was zero to zero.”
The girls adjusted everything, won the second half, and won the game, 39-37.
“We knew this was the season our program has gone through so many positive changes and we wanted to keep them up,” said senior Caroline McLaughlin. “Nerves got the best of us and in the second half … we realized this is our season and it was our win to take. We had worked so hard for it and had earned it.”
While the Battle Mountain victory may have been the most entertaining and wild to watch, it wasn’t necessarily the biggest game in Crouch’s opinion.
The new coach thinks a loss to Coal Ridge was a turning point for the team. Coal Ridge, a top-10 team at the 3A level, defeated Steamboat 53-27, but there were so many positives in that game.
Crouch said it was the first time she saw active, aggressive defense, and the team left feeling good about its abilities on the defensive end of the court. The team has also been working hard and taking practices seriously, which has obviously translated into success in games.
That experience against Coal Ridge then led to this three-game winning streak.
Following back-to-back-to-back victories, the Sailors are on a confidence high, according to Caroline McLaughlin, but the senior said the team is aware of its confidence and is wary of relying on it to generate success.
“We’ve been overconfident in games before and haven’t loved the outcome,” McLaughlin said.
On Saturday, Jan. 21, the Sailors will take on their toughest league opponent at Glenwood Springs. The Demons are 8-5 and also 3-0 in league play.
“I think (the Sailors) actually, for the first time, are believing in themselves that they can make it a close game,” Crouch said. “And if we’re operating on all cylinders with precision, that things could go our way.”
Shelby Reardon is the assistant editor at the Steamboat Pilot & Today. To reach her, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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