Sailor boys, girls crack top 10

— Both the girls and boys basketball teams at Steamboat Springs High School are now considered among the state's top 10 4A teams.

Each team notched impressive victories over Battle Mountain in their league opener on Jan. 10 in Minturn.

The Sailors girls defeated the Huskies 74-31 to improve to 8-0 on the season, earning a No. 9 ranking in The Denver Post's latest poll.

The Sailors boys vaulted from their previous ranking of No. 8 to the No. 5 spot with a 62-49 win over Battle Mountain. The Steamboat boys are now 7-1.

Both are currently the only Western Slope league teams ranked in the top 10.

Granted, records and rankings mean little once the meat of the league schedule rolls around; both boys coach Kelly Meek and girls coach Steve Moos understand that.

But both coaches were pleased with how their teams played in Minturn, notching the all-important first league win of the season.

The girls got things under way with a convincing 41-point victory over the Huskies, undeniably one of the weaker teams in the league.

Moos said the seniors didn't play in the fourth quarter and a couple of freshmen even got their first taste of varsity action.

Things were close after one quarter, and Moos said the Battle Mountain crowd was really fired up, but Steamboat went on a 23-0 run to silence the fans and establish a 40-17 halftime lead.

"From that point on," Moos said, "we took over."

Senior Jannike Combs had a team-high 20 points, and Moos said she created needed energy on the court.

"She was shooting well," Moos said. "She really sparked us. She was hustling and playing great defense and her shooting just added to it."

Senior Bayli Stillwell chipped in with 15 points and added a team-high 11 rebounds, seven of which were on the offensive end.

Senior Tracy Lucas had eight points and seven rebounds for the Sailors.

Steamboat's boys didn't enjoy such a decisive margin of victory, but they played better competition.

Battle Mountain featured a dominant 6-foot-7 post that Meek was concerned about heading into the contest. The Huskies' star player scored 10 points in the first half, but more importantly, outworked the Sailors for rebounds.

"It was a real battle for us," Meek said. "We were up by two at the half and dropped behind by five in the third quarter. But in that third, we hit a big rush and we went from being down five to having a three-point lead. We executed really well once we fell behind. They had a couple kids that played real well against us."

Seniors Cody Sherrill and John Daschle, junior Kyle Re and sophomore Cameron Burney all hit crucial shots, Meek said, sparking the offensive surge in the third and at the outset of the fourth quarter.

"It was a real competitive game," Meek said. "It was a high-charged atmosphere, which is good for us."

Meek said most of Battle Mountain's damage on the offensive and defensive end was done in the first half. His team made the proper adjustments on the floor and contained the Huskies for a majority of the fourth quarter.

Poor shooting hindered Steamboat most of the evening, but Meek said the Sailors found clutch shots when needed, particularly at the free-throw line near the end of the game.

Senior Cory Moore made five of six down the stretch to lock up the win for Steamboat.

"We told them at the end of the half and at the end of the third that this is the type of game that will make us stronger," Meek said.

Daschle's 19 points led the way for the Sailors. Burney had 15 points, 16 rebounds and five steals for an all-around impressive performance.

Sherrill and Moore each had 10 points.

Meek said both Re and Devon Borvansky provided key minutes for the Sailors off the bench as well.

Up next for both teams are home league games against Delta and Palisade. The girls get under way at 6 p.m. Friday. The boys' game will follow.

On Saturday, the girls' game begins at 4:30 p.m. with the boys' game to follow.

"The competition gets better every week," Moos said. "We've played a few good teams, but I'm anxious to see how we do."

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