Still searching for some end of the season magic
It took a while, but the Titans put together an explosive fourth quarter to put the finishing touches on a 50-35 win over the South Park Burros on Friday, February 3 in mighty Mt. Olympus.
Coach Brandin Hamilton debuted a new defense at the start of the game that handcuffed the Burros and the Titans built a quick 7-0 lead before a timeout was called.
“We’ve been working on a trapping two-three and that was our first time to test it,” says Hamilton. “I think it gave South Park problems.”
The Burros returned to the court running a quick pass-and-move offense, while the Titans resorted to impatience on offense, allowing the Burros to climb back in the game.
The Burros’ cutters found gaps in the Titans defense for easy lay-ups to stay in the game, holding the Titans to a five-point lead by halftime. Furthermore, starting junior point guard Jesse Reeves went down with an injury at the close of the half, leaving the game open for a South Park comeback.
“I told them that we’re the better team—if you’re patient and work together we’ll win this game,” says Hamilton.
The Titans put together a schizophrenic third quarter that started out rough, allowing the Burros to climb back into the game. Crested Butte spent the start of the quarter lunging at passes on defense, searching desperately for steals. The Burros exploited the Titans to tie the game 22-22.
Once the Titans settled down on defense and offense, they put together a 10-4 run to close the third quarter and take a six-point lead.
Senior Anton Peck grabbed an offensive rebound and scored. Slowed down but not out, Reeves started pulling up from the elbow to hit jump shots instead of driving to the hoop, and junior Kane Hamilton scored off an inbounds lob under the basket to put the Titans up 28-22.
Kane closed the quarter with a steal and breakaway dunk as the Titans took a 32-26 lead into the fourth quarter.
Crested Butte carried the momentum into the start of the fourth quarter as both Kane and Reeves scored the first two baskets of the quarter. Kane picked off another pass for another breakaway slam, scored on a lob from half court and senior Sean Johnson battled for two more points in the paint to build a 43-32 lead midway through the fourth quarter.
South Park called a couple of timeouts amidst the onslaught in an effort to slow the Titans down but the ploy failed and the Titans sealed the win, hitting five free throws down the stretch for the 50-35 win.
Kane led the team with 23 points, Reeves finished with nine, and Peck added seven points.
“It was all good,” says Brandin. “Overall I was happy with the game.”
The Titans looked to build off the win when they hit the road on Saturday to face La Veta, but with Reeves and junior Ryan Costello out of the game, the Titans struggled to figure out their new roles on the court.
La Veta opened with a 9-1 run and never looked back, handing the Titans a 61-38 loss.
The one bright note from the game came in the fourth quarter when the Titans finally adjusted to their new positions and scored 18 points.
“We started looking good and are building on that going into this week,” says Brandin.
The Titans will have their hands full on Friday, February 10 as they head to Custer County to face the second best team in the league. Both Reeves and Costello are still questionable for the game.
“I do have a few days to build some momentum with the team I’ve got,” says Brandin. “We’ll just see how it goes.”