Season preview: Sailors girls and boys basketball
Girls head into season with positive attitudes
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — There are no guarantees this year, so the Steamboat Springs High School girls basketball team is just looking to enjoy itself.
Last year was the winningest season in years for the Sailors, who ended the year with a 7-15 record. However, seniors on this year’s team said it was hard to enjoy last year with so much tension on the roster. Even before the 2021 season opener, that negative energy isn’t present.
So with nothing promised but their attitudes, the Sailor girls are feeling lucky and hopeful.
“Given the circumstances, I’m just hoping we can finish the season,” said senior Erica Simmons. “And we don’t get shut down, that we can have the ability to play and get a few games in.”
The team is still competitive, though, and looking to win, but the Sailors won’t collapse in on themselves with every loss or get too confident with wins. With a short season, the results don’t seem so important this year.
Perhaps with that outlook, they may find themselves winning more often.
The team lost four seniors and a junior that graduated early but got a few players back that took a year or two off, including Mollie Brown, who missed last year due to a torn ACL.
With limited spectators, other Sailor fans can watch the game at the Sailors’ Athletics Youtube channel at youtube.com/channel/UC0PpYXnj40VfhlfzfithwlQ
Steamboat Radio also will be broadcasting all home and away games.
Head coach George Ibarra is just happy to be back coaching again and is even more thrilled that the Sailor athletes have the ability to play after so many sporting events have been canceled.
“They need this, and I know there are people who have said let’s do away with sports,” Ibarra said. “I respect COVID, but you can’t stop living. These kids have to have an outlet, and this is a great outlet. … It’s so nice to be back out here.”
The Sailor girls are most looking forward to earning redemption over Palisade. Steamboat lost twice to the Bulldogs last year, by five points or fewer.
“We keep seeing them improve, and that’s just the girls wanting it. Looking in their eyes, I think (all the cancellations) made them realize how much they want to play basketball,” Ibarra said. “They’re ready to go. They’re giving 110%.”
Steamboat boys ready to ’embrace’ the challenge of 2021 season
The Sailors boys team is coming off another successful season that ended in a heart-wrenching 47-44 loss to Mitchell. With most of the team returning, a large group of seniors is hoping the season persists, so they can get back to the playoffs and see how far they can go.
With seven seniors, including four that had consistent playing time, the team has no shortage of experience and leadership.
Even with early season practices, the Sailors don’t have the same group every single day, since some students have had to self-isolate after potential exposure to a positive COVID-19 case.
Wednesday, Jan. 27 – Coal Ridge at Steamboat Springs
Girls varsity 4:30 p.m.
Boys varsity 6:30 p.m.
“It’s hard because we can’t play with the same collective unit of guys every time we come out,” said senior Jake Kreissig. “We don’t really know what to expect every day, but that’s our whole motto, is ‘Embrace.’ Embrace the challenge of the day and work with what you have.”
With that attitude, as well as the shooting and defensive talents they displayed last year, it’s hard not to think the Steamboat boys will have another good year. Head coach Michael Vandahl preaches defense, and the returning core from last year are excellent shooters, particularly from three-point range.
“In terms of the game, (we’re good at) outside shooting,” senior Eric Pollert said. “We have some pretty good chemistry, I think with so many seniors.”
In their quest for another playoff appearance, both Pollert and Kreissig said they’re most looking forward to meeting Glenwood Springs. Last year, Steamboat lost 58-44 and 42-40 to the Demons.
“It’s kind of an unspoken rivalry, I guess,” said Kreissig. “It’s always a really competitive game and pretty personal.”
Wednesday, Jan. 27
Coal Ridge at Steamboat Springs
Saturday, Jan. 30
Steamboat Springs at Moffat County
Tuesday, Feb. 2
Steamboat Springs at Rifle
Saturday, Feb. 6
Palisade at Steamboat Springs
Tuesday, Feb. 9
Steamboat Springs at Eagle Valley
Thursday, Feb. 11
Rifle at Steamboat Springs
Saturday, Feb. 13
Steamboat Springs at Battle Mountain
Tuesday, Feb. 16
Summit at Steamboat Springs
Friday, Feb. 19
Steamboat Springs at Glenwood Springs
Tuesday, Feb. 23
Steamboat Springs at Summit
Saturday, Feb. 27
Glenwood Springs at Steamboat Springs
Tuesday March 2
Eagle Valley at Steamboat Springs
Thursday, March 4
Battle Mountain at Steamboat Springs
Saturday, March 6
Steamboat Springs at Palisade
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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