Steamboat boys beat Bulldogs in renewed rivalry |

Steamboat boys beat Bulldogs in renewed rivalry

Steamboat Springs junior Ethan Riniker attempts to dribble around Moffat County's Dylan Kincade Friday.
Austin Colbert

Steamboat Shootout

Friday scores


Eagle Valley 76, Elizabeth 53

Roosevelt 66, Battle Mountain 49

Colorado Academy 70, Northridge 63

Steamboat Springs 64, Moffat County 52

— With barely 40 miles separating the schools, it’s difficult to believe the Steamboat Springs High School boys’ basketball team hasn’t played Moffat County High School since 2012. So when the two teams met Friday in the second day of the Steamboat Shootout, it maybe didn’t have the feel of a real rivalry game.

But it’s a feeling both coaches hope to bring back.

“It was fun to get back and play them again,” said SSHS coach Michael Vandahl, a former Sailor player. “It’s a natural rivalry. The rivalry goes way back. There is tons of history to it. It’s something we are very interested in trying to keep going.”

And after Steamboat’s 64-52 win Friday at Kelly Meek gymnasium, the Sailors will likely be the team looking for the quick rematch. SSHS controlled the game almost from start to finish and used big shots to stop short Bulldog rallies. With the win, Steamboat improves to 2-0 in the Shootout following Thursday’s 56-53 overtime win over Roosevelt.

Moffat County fell to 0-2 in the Shootout after their opening-day loss to Eagle Valley, 58-46.

“We got to take these experiences and get better,” Moffat County coach Eric Hamilton said. “They just made key buckets when it could have gone the other way. They are coached well, and they played well.”

The Bulldogs briefly led, 9-8, in the first quarter, but a pair of Ethan Riniker free throws gave Steamboat the lead back, and MCHS was left chasing the rest of the game. The Sailors led 15-11 after a quarter and took a 31-24 lead into the locker room, lots of early Bulldog fouls putting Steamboat at the free-throw line.

“We only had 14 turnovers tonight, 15 assists. So that was a big plus. It probably was our most complete game,” Vandahl said. “We got a lot of guys out there. Everybody contributed, even the guys that only got a few minutes.”

Every time Moffat County rallied in the second half — the Bulldogs could only close within six points and trailed by as much as 14 — a Sailor player would step up and hit a big shot to stay in firm control.

Steamboat had four players reach double figures, led by 18 points and five rebounds from Riniker. John Zalesky added 14 points, Jon Rinck 11 points, and Mac Riniker 10 points.

“Steamboat really played well tonight,” Hamilton said. “We struggled. We got into early foul trouble, and that hurt us a little bit. We got it close there a couple of times. It was fun. Great rivalry.”

Dylan Kincade led the Bulldogs with 18 points, while Kody Fief had 13.

The Shootout wraps up Saturday with Moffat County playing Battle Mountain at 9 a.m. and Steamboat facing Colorado Academy at 12:30 p.m.

“We are playing a very good opponent tomorrow. They’ve got some very skilled players,” Vandahl said. “It’s going to be a big challenge for us. But we are excited about it. We are going to give it our all. Hopefully we can go 3-0. We’ll find out.”

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

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