Headed to 1A state tournament for second year in a row
The Lady Titans basketball team opened the 2009 post-season on fire, decimating Moffat in the first round of the district tournament 57-35.
All pistons were firing for Crested Butte, with every Lady Titan focused for the task at hand.
“We were prepared, we were psyched and everyone was on board,” says coach MaryMike Haley.
The two teams traded baskets through the opening minutes of the game before the Lady Titans fired off the final nine points at the end of the quarter to take a 16-7 lead.
The Lady Titans closed the second quarter in the same fashion rattling off a 12-2 run to take a 30-13 lead into halftime.
They maintained their pace throughout the second half to seal the opening playoff win.
Junior Sydney Loyed led the team with 18 points including hitting four of six from three-point range. Senior Emma Vosburg scored 17 points and senior Jessie Frame had nine points and six rebounds.
“She [Sydney] was just shooting lights out,” says Haley. “We were psyched to be there and put together four solid quarters.”
Hot off the big win, the Lady Titans entered the district finals against the Sierra Grande Panthers, looking to avenge an overtime loss earlier in the season.
“Confidence was high, we were feeling good and psyched to face up with Sierra Grande,” says Haley.
Unfortunately, the pre-game energy failed to carry over into the early part of the game as the Lady Titans were cold from the perimeter and fell behind 17-2 by the end of the first quarter.
Furthermore, starting post player Frame fell victim to a flagrant foul and was forced the leave the floor.
“We were asleep at the wheel,” says Haley.
The Lady Titans shook off their first quarter shooting woes and stepped up their defensive pressure, led by senior Allie McFarland in the second quarter to chip away at the Panthers lead.
Crested Butte outscored the Panthers 16-11 in the second quarter to head into halftime down 28-18.
The break offered the Panthers a slight reprieve from the Crested Butte comeback as the two teams played even hoops through the third quarter and the Panthers carried their 10-point lead into the fourth quarter.
The Lady Titans stepped up the pressure another notch in the final quarter, forcing turnovers by the Panthers. Freshman Sydney Jernigan battled for offensive rebounds to score two baskets and cut the lead down to six points. After a couple o free throws by the Panthers, Vosburg scored and then stole the ball for another bucket to pull the Lady Titans to within one point, 46-45.
The Panthers looked to pull away again but the Lady Titans hung tough and Vosburg scored to keep the Sierra Grande lead at one with under a minute to play.
Unfortunately, as time wound down, the Lady Titans were forced into a foul situation, ultimately leading to the loss of Jernigan, McFarland and Vosburg, and the Panthers sealed the 52-47 win from the free throw line.
Vosburg led the team with 27 points and Jernigan threw in eight points and pulled down 10 rebounds.
“We struggle with getting motivated in the first quarter,” says Haley. “But, I am proud of them because they just kept fighting and didn’t give up.”
As a result of the district finals loss, the Lady Titans are forced to travel to Lamar, Colo. for their first round state tournament game against Cheyenne Wells on Friday, March 6 at 4 p.m.
“We’ve got our work cut out for us for sure,” says Haley. “We just have to show up in Lamar on Friday and play good basketball, which we are capable of.”
A win there will more than likely set them up for a round two state game against Kim, a team whose one loss all year came to the number one team in the state.