“I just really didn’t know what to expect”
It took until the pre-season Ouray tournament before head coach MaryMike Haley got a real look at her girls’ basketball team.
Battling illness and injury, the team has struggled to piece together any semblance of rhythm in its workouts. In fact, it wasn’t until the day before opening night of the tournament that Haley could hold her first intra-squad scrimmage.
As a result, Haley was somewhat unsure of how her team would stack up against their traditionally tough opponent.
“I just didn’t really know what to expect,” says Haley.
Much to her pleasant surprise, what Haley did see was very encouraging.
The game was tight through the first half and the two teams headed into the locker room tied 22-22.
It was then that Haley decided to turn up the heat and challenge her team by installing a press on Ouray in the third quarter.
“We haven’t even practiced our press,” says Haley.
The move made all the difference in the game as the Lady Titans handcuffed the Ouray team, forcing turnovers and converting them into points on offense.
“We were aggressive on offense and moving the ball really well,” says Haley—so much so that the Lady Titans built a seven-point lead by the end of the third quarter. They finished the game, playing several players off the bench, and came away with a 56-47 win.
Senior Emma Coburn led the Lady Titans, scoring 27 points, followed by junior Emma Vosburg who had 16 points. In addition, sophomore Sydney Loyed flowed into a starting role smoothly to net six points.
Haley also saw some players step up on defense, with juniors Jessie Frame and Allie McFarland shutting down Ouray’s attack and junior Maggie Chlipala pulling down a handful of key rebounds.
“To have them go out there and put it together like that is huge,” says Haley.
The Lady Titans sealed the tournament title on Saturday, December 1 defeating the Telluride Lady Miners 54-21. During the game Coburn and Vosburg switched roles on offense as Vosburg led the team with 28 points, with Coburn adding 14 points of her own.
More important, Haley was able to get several players in the game off the bench, providing some much needed experience for several players.
“I was excited about how they all came off the bench and played,” explains Haley. “It was a good experience for everybody. A lot of them still don’t know how the offense works.”
The Lady Titans will return to the road to play Nucla on Friday, December 7. They’ll then have their hands full on Saturday, December 8 as they play host to notoriously stout Plateau Valley here in Mt. Olympus at 4 p.m.
“Plateau Valley is going to be tough,” says Haley. “They’re probably one of our toughest games of the season.”
The Lady Titans will play at home again on Tuesday, December 11 against Cedaredge at 5 p.m.