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Rally falls short for Sailor boys against Colorado Academy

Steamboat Springs junior McKenyon King falls to the court during a scramble for a loose ball against Colorado Academy on Saturday in the final day of the Steamboat Shootout. Despite an impressive rally, the Sailors fell short in a 66-54 loss.
Austin Colbert

Steamboat Shootout scores from Saturday

Boys

Battle Mountain 69, Moffat County 43

Northridge 72, Elizabeth 51

Colorado Academy 66, Steamboat Springs 54

Roosevelt 56, Eagle Valley 42

Girls

Elizabeth 49, Frederick 42

Discovery Canyon 36, Battle Mountain 25

Moffat County 69, Eagle Valley 26

Prairie View 48, Steamboat Springs 31

— The third-quarter rally by the Steamboat Springs High School boys’ basketball team Saturday against Colorado Academy was impressive. However, it was the Sailors’ equally unimpressive second-quarter collapse that resulted in the team needing to rally in the first place.

“We came out and were toe-to-toe with them. Then, we hit a little lull there where they made a little run on us, and we kind of separated,” SSHS coach Michael Vandahl said. “We talked about it after the game. Those are the times that are most important to be a team, to be together, to have that communication. Our energy just went down in that moment.”

The lull led to a deficit the Sailors couldn’t climb out of and ultimately resulted in their 66-54 loss to Colorado Academy at Kelly Meek gymnasium. The game was the third and final of the Steamboat Shootout for both teams, which SSHS finished with a 2-1 record.



“All of a sudden, we were kind of individualistic, and that really did hurt us. They put a little spurt on us,” Vandahl said. “I’m proud of the way we fought back. We really dug deep, fought back.”

Steamboat trailed only 13-11 after a quarter, but the Mustangs outscored the Sailors 22-12 in the second quarter to take a 35-23 lead into halftime. The largest deficit for SSHS came at 35-18 with a little more than a minute to play in the quarter and before Steamboat junior Ethan Riniker hit a 3-pointer and junior McKenyon King connected on a pair of free throws right before half.



The run continued into the third quarter, when the Sailors outscored Colorado Academy by eight points and closed to within 45-41 heading into the fourth. A 3-pointer by senior John Zalesky to open the final quarter pulled Steamboat within a point, and it was a pair of free throws by senior Jon Rinck a few minutes later that tied the game at 48.

The Sailors were never able to take the lead, however; a 3-pointer by Mustang senior Peter Vukovich-Simonson gave them back the lead at 51-48, and Colorado Academy pulled away over the final five minutes to win by 12 points.

“There are still just times at end of quarters, those situations, where we just need to be smarter and have more assuredness,” Vandahl said.

Riniker led the Sailors with 17 points, while Rinck had 16.

The loss snapped a two-game win streak for Steamboat after it defeated Roosevelt Thursday and Moffat County Friday, their first two games of the Shootout. At 3-3 overall, Vandahl believes the team has come a long way from its 1-2 start, which included a 29-point outing in an 18-point loss to Fruita Monument on Dec. 5.

“We’ve come miles since our first game. The boys have really listened in and are buying in,” Vandahl said. “We just got to get these little things figured out. That’s the good thing. A tweak here, a tweak there, a made basket, and we can compete with anybody. That’s the good sign. I’m proud of the way the boys have fought.”

The Sailors have a few days off this week before league play gets underway Friday at Rifle. Then, SSHS will host Eagle Valley on Saturday in its final game before winter break.

Steamboat girls drop third straight

Much like the first two games of the Shootout, the Steamboat girls’ basketball team found its offensive execution lacking in defeat. While the defense was sound, turnovers crippled the Sailors in a 48-31 loss to Prairie View on Saturday, their third loss in as many days.

“Turnovers plagued us in the third quarter, which put us in a hole, and we couldn’t recover,” Sailor coach Mack Spitellie said. “First half, we played well. We did what we were supposed to, and the game was ours to have.”

SSHS trailed 13-11 after the first quarter and briefly took a lead at 15-13 on a 3-pointer by sophomore Karly Lanning. The Thunderhawks led 18-17 at halftime.

The Sailors regained the lead one final time on a basket by senior Allison Casey to open the third quarter, but Prairie View’s pressure made a mess of the Steamboat offense the remainder of the game. After taking a 19-18 lead early in the second half, SSHS was outscored 30-12 the rest of the way.

“I think it’s on most of our girls,” Spitellie said. “We got to work harder in practice and make kids uncomfortable so we get used to it.”

Jenna Miller led Steamboat with 10 points.

SSHS falls to 2-3 overall with the loss. The Sailors will join the boys’ team in Rifle on Friday before also hosting Eagle Valley on Saturday, the final game before break.

To reach Austin Colbert, call 970-871-4204, email acolbert@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Austin_Colbert


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