Host Sierra Grande this Friday
When you are down to two starters, both of whom had to miss most of the week of practice, and you’re forced to call upon players with little to no varsity experience to play, a coach always falls back on the most important part of basketball.
“I knew we’d have to hold our own defensively and work on handling pressure,” explains coach Brandin Hamilton.
So, in the week leading up to the Crested Butte Titans boys’ basketball game against the Cripple Creek Pioneers, that’s just what they did.
The work the team put in, plus an outstanding effort from both Jesse Reeves and Ryan Costello, ultimately carried the Titans over the Pioneers.
It didn’t start out that smooth though as confusion on defense early on allowed the Pioneers to build a 14-9 lead by the end of the first quarter.
After starting out man-to-man on defense, Hamilton had to call a timeout and switch to zone to help his team regain some composure. When that didn’t work, Hamilton called them back to the bench to share his thoughts with the team and returned to a man-to-man defense.
At that point, things started to click.
“Two things happened,” explains Hamilton. “We realized they didn’t have any offense and that we run the same shell offense set in practice, so we knew what they were going to do. And Jesse proved to be the best player on the floor. He just took over.”
Reeves hit three from behind the arc and proceeded to run the floor coast-to-coast for lay-ups, leading the Titans to a 31-18 advantage at halftime.
“They had no answer for Jesse,” says Hamilton. “And when he did miss, Ryan cleaned everything up.”
With Costello and Reeves running the show on offense, the rest of the team buckled down on defense, holding Cripple Creek to four points in the third quarter.
“It was our defense that made the difference,” says Hamilton. “We made the adjustments and the JV players turned it around. They played hard, they were selfless and defensively they worked their butts off.”
With Cripple Creek’s offense rendered useless, and Costello and Reeves unstoppable, the Titans finished the Pioneers off 54-34.
Reeves finished the game with 31 points and eight rebounds, while Costello posted a double-double, scoring 20 points and pulling down 16 boards. Joe Hayes scored the other three points for the Titans.
They now turn their attention to Sierra Grande and while Hamilton will be calling on the bench once again this weekend, the hope is that they can remain competitive with one of the top programs in their league.
Sierra Grande is ranked 15th in the state and second place in the league, scoring as many as 75 points on a regular basis.
“They’re relentless, “ says Hamilton.
Tip-off for the boys’ JV will be at 5 p.m. with the varsity boys starting at 8 p.m.