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Sailors zoned out in OT

Steamboat senior Jon Rinck tries to lay in a shot Saturday against Eagle Valley. Rinck finished the game with eight points, but his team lost in overtime, 45-39.
Joel Reichenberger

— In one instance when it really, really mattered, the Steamboat Springs High School boys basketball team cracked open a zone defense expertly.

With the ball on the other side of the court, junior Ethan Riniker was alone on a wing, the closest defender to him fighting for position several feet away in the lane. Riniker slowly but not exactly sneakily made his way to the top of the key, then, with a quick reversal of the ball, he was right in position.

Riniker drained that shot, a long 3-pointer, to force overtime playing at home against Eagle Valley.



The Sailors were rarely so effective against that zone, however, and the Devils used the extra time to win the game, 45-39.

“I have to take some blame,” Steamboat coach Michael Vandahl said. “We haven’t concentrated enough on our zone defense, and that’s something we’re really going to pound home over the break. That’s something I need to be better at.”



No surges were as dramatic as Riniker’s game-tying trey, but Steamboat managed to bounce back several times to stay close to Eagle Valley. The Sailors trailed by nine early in the fourth quarter before rallying to force overtime.

Riniker and Mac Riniker each scored 10 to lead the team while Jon Rinck had eight. Jimmy Murphy and Jesus Loera each had 12 for Eagle Valley.

For Steamboat, the game was a bit too similar to Friday night’s 48-44 loss to Rifle.

Again in that one, the team struggled against the zone and couldn’t convert in key late-game moments.

“We need more fluidity. We need more motion. We get stuck sometimes,” Vandahl said. “We really need to work on late-game situations, too. Tonight and last night we were right in the game, we had possessions either tied or down two, and both nights we turned the ball over or took ill-advised shots.”

Steamboat, 3-5, will have plenty of time to work on those facets of the game. It’s not back on the court until Jan. 5.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9


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