Steamboat boys use dominant third to defeat Rifle, girls nearly beat the Bears
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Let’s pretend the start of the second quarter was the start of the game. The Steamboat Springs High School boys basketball team would probably prefer that, anyway.
In the first 30 seconds, senior Granger Rowan forced a turnover that resulted in a bucket by Rifle senior Jake Kreissig. A travel by a Rifle player gave Steamboat the ball back, which prompted the Bears head coach to call a timeout. In the next possession, Sailors junior Kellen Adams scored a 3-pointer that tied the game at 11.
The Sailors broke the game open in the second half, defeating Rifle 51-35 Thursday night. The boys are now 4-0.
Steamboat is undefeated, unbeaten, lossless and perfect, at least based on the record, but head coach Michael Vandahl thinks those words are getting to his team.
“This team has got a lot of high expectations for itself,” Vandahl said. “I think in the first half, we played tight. It’s almost like we’re playing with a sense of we need to be perfect. We talked about that after the game. We got to have fun every day, kind of loosen up a little bit. … Then they came out in the third quarter and played how they can play.”
Steamboat truly started heating up in the second half. Sophomore Cade Gedeon found Eric Pollert for the first score of the second half. The basket tied the game at 21. Pollert went on to score the next 5 points of the game. Steamboat junior Kellen Adams broke Pollert’s streak when he netted a 3-pointer to bring the score to 29-21. Kreissig then went on a streak of his own, scoring six straight.
Defense is always a strength for the Steamboat boys, but the third quarter showed just how dominant the team can be.
A 3-pointer from junior Danny Carreon was the only score for Rifle in the third, and it didn’t come until one minute remained in the frame. Steamboat outscored the Bears 21-3 in the third quarter.
Of Steamboat’s 32 rebounds, 22 came on the defensive end. Additionally, the team racked up six steals and two blocks.
“That was awesome. We came into the locker room (at half time) and didn’t like how we were playing. We came back out and got three steals in the first three possessions” Gedeon said. “We did what we did best. We played defense.”
Sailor girls nearly capture first win
With one minute and 27 seconds left in its home game against Rifle, Steamboat Springs was down 25-23. The Bears held on to the ball, swinging it around the perimeter to kill time before making a move to score. With no shot clock, they had no pressure to get rid of the ball.
Steamboat didn’t get antsy, though. They stuck with the Bears, but eventually a Sailor fouled.
Rifle junior Jamie Caron went to the line and put two shots away to seal the 27-23 win Thursday night.
The game was the second close one in a row for the Steamboat girls after Tuesday’s 45-41 loss to Eagle Valley.
Defense was a huge success for the Sailors as they held Rifle to single digits every quarter.
“We were all working well together,” senior Mollie Brown said. “Our communication did really well. We kept talking about the screens and were always thinking about it and were constantly in the game together.”
The Sailors struggled to score in action in the first half, but took advantage of every chance they got from the foul line.
Senior Erica Simmons scored a pair of free throws to open the third quarter, bringing the score to 12-8, Rifle. Following a score from junior Sam Campbell, Simmons found herself back at the line. She sank both to tie the game at 12.
Right around the same time, Rifle started making mistakes. They were fouling more often and losing control of the ball.
Steamboat used big scores from Campbell to take the lead momentarily in the third, but Rifle led 20-18 at the end of the quarter.
With every shot, the bench players roared and cheered, encouraging the girls in red to keep putting them up. Brown said the energy in the gym and the intensity from every player, on the court or not, was a huge positive.
“I think we just have to keep up the same intensity that we have been and keep working as a team,” senior Mollie Brown said. “Our chemistry is getting better each game. Just working hard every day and coming to play.”
The teams next play Saturday at home against Glenwood Springs.
Boys: Steamboat Springs 51, Rifle 35
R 11 10 3 11 – 35
SS 6 13 21 11 – 51
Scoring: R, Kade Bishop 9, Danny Carreon 8. SS, Eric Pollert 15, Kellen Adams 9, Jake Kreissig 8, Cade Gedeon 8, Jackson Metzler 5, Carter Reistad 4, Granger Rowan 2.
Girls: Rifle 27, Steamboat Springs 23
R 6 6 8 7 – 27
SS 2 4 12. 5 – 23
Scoring: R, Jamie Caron 9, Kimber Lang 8. SS, Erica Simmons 11, Sam Campbell 6, Mollie Brown 4, Grace Harper 2.
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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