Club team rocks competition in tournament

— The eighth-grade girls on Tom Stockdale's club basketball team are off to a fast start this spring.

At the team's first tournament in Wyoming, the girls swept past Rock Springs, Moffat County and Lander en route to claiming their first championship trophy of the club season.

"Every girl on this team contributed," Stockdale said. "When we needed a basket, we got it."

The weekend began with a gritty 39-35 showing against tournament host Rock Springs, Wyo. That victory was followed by an emotional 36-33 win against Moffat County, a team the Steamboat girls have not beaten in nearly two seasons.

The Steamboat girls wrapped up the tournament with a 24-18 victory against Lander, Wyo.

"We have a wonderful rivalry with Moffat County," Stockdale said. "We've been close to getting them the past couple of years, but we always seem to come up short."

Saturday's game was a fight to the finish, but this time, Steamboat came out on top by three points.

Steamboat was supposed to face the top seed from the other pool in their age division, but Grand Junction forfeited the match because of the weather. The Grand Junction team elected to start their journey home a few hours early and gave the tournament title to Steamboat.

"It was a little disappointing, but they wanted to hit the road because of the weather," Stockdale said. "We wanted to play the game, but we will take the title just the same."

Although the weather put a damper on the tournament finale, it didn't take away from a stellar performance by the seven Steamboat players who made the trip to Wyoming.

The team was led in scoring by Grace Stockdale, who finished the weekend with 40 points.

Coach Stockdale said the team got great offensive and defensive performances from its five starters: Stockdale, Colleen King, Courtney Garth, Lindsey Yost and Kylee Swiggart.

The team also got strong support from the bench in the play of Hannah Fishman and Lillie Hoff.

Fishman came off the bench against Rock Springs hitting a key basket and coming away with a steal. Hoff, who was sick Saturday, came off the bench late in the game and hit a key free throw. She also played well in Sunday's games despite feeling ill.

The girls team will take its 3-0 record on the road to Laramie, Wyo., this week for the second tournament of the season.

The Laramie tournament typically draws about 200 teams, and Stockdale is expecting more tough competition in the eighth-grade division.

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