Montrose brings Steamboat’s perfect season to a close

Steamboat Springs High School senior Jake Kreissig and Montrose junior Luke Hutto look for a rebound during a Great Eight game on Monday night. The Indians won 61-47 to advance to the state semifinals. (Photo by Josue Perez/ Montrose Daily Press)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Steamboat Springs High School basketball team looked into a mirror on Monday night and did not like what it saw.

Standing before the 16-0 Sailors were the 16-0 Montrose Indians, who got to the Great Eight the same way Steamboat did: excellent defense and depth in scoring.

The teams battled to determine who was the better version of prep sport perfection, and the Sailors soon found themselves on the other side of the glass, the muddled reflection of the still undefeated Indians.

Montrose used lights-out scoring and physical play to come out on top 61-47, advancing to the state semifinals and leaving Steamboat and its seven seniors mulling over the loss on the long ride home.

“I was really confident going into the game,” Steamboat Springs head coach Michael Vandahl said. “It’s one of those nights. If you’re in the Great Eight and have one of those nights, you’re going to end up going home.”

The Sailors were down about 10 points for most of the game as Montrose jumped out 22-11 early in the second. With five minutes to play, senior Jake Kreissig used an acrobatic lay-up to cut the deficit to nine at 47-38.

Junior Kellen Adams stole the ball from the Indians in the next possession, flying towards the basket on a breakaway. Be it nerves or excitement, Adams’ shot rattled off the glass with too much force, missing the basket altogether. A potential seven-point deficit and Steamboat resurgence vanished as quickly as it appeared.

The Indians scored six straight to regain a comfortable 53-38 advantage.

“From the get-go, they punched us in the mouth physically,” Vandahl said. “They seem like a team that’s a little more aggressive. It was a little bit too late at the end when we finally started shooting with some swagger and confidence. It was too late at that point. Our guys played their rear ends off; we just didn’t have it tonight.

Physical play manifested itself in rebounds for the Indians. The Sailors have bested their opponents on the boards all season, but Montrose was staggeringly successful with second-chance points.

Steamboat started the game typically slow and timid to shoot. The team went into the locker room at halftime down 31-21. That wasn’t anything too unusual for the Sailors, though, who haven’t held a lead going into the second half of the last two playoff games this year.

Usually, Steamboat makes up for a faulty first half with a whirlwind third quarter, but that strong quarter never came.

Despite the large group of seniors having the ability to score from deep or underneath, Steamboat was led by sophomore Cade Gedeon with 17 points and junior Parker Lindquist with 9 points.

Senior Eric Pollert netted 8, while seniors Granger Rowan and Kreissig added 5 points each.

“It wasn’t the night that they wanted, but I’m super proud of this senior group and the foundation they’ve laid over the four years we’ve had,” Vandahl said. “Sweet Sixteen two years ago, two league championships and (Great) Eight this year. They really laid a solid foundation for the future of our program.”

Montrose 61, Steamboat Springs 47

SS 9 12 11 15 – 47

M 16 15 12 18 – 61

Scoring: M, Luke Hutto 24, Ashden Oberg 18, Trey Reese 11. SS, Cade Gedeon 17, Parker Lindquist 9, Eric Pollert 8, Granger Rowan 5, Jakob Kreissig 5.

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