Conditioning, rebounding and turnovers
The Crested Butte Titans boys’ basketball team looks to rise from the rubble in the next week after falling to the Sierra Grande Panthers 63-42 on Friday, February 1.
The cards were stacked against the Titans losing one starter for the rest of the season and missing several others over the course of the past two weeks due to injuries and illnesses.
“The last two weeks we haven’t really had a practice with everyone on the floor,” explains coach Brandin Hamilton. “We’ve had some walkthroughs, some crawl-throughs but even in practice our timing has been completely off.”
Sierra Grande, on the other hand, is sitting in second place in the league, 15th in the state, and putting up close to 75 points per game.
Nevertheless, Hamilton did have a plan in place and believed victory was possible.
“I talked about long possessions, taking care of the ball and boxing out for rebounds,” says Hamilton. “If we did that, and played our game, we could win. If we didn’t, we would lose like we did.”
The game was back-and-forth in the first quarter with the Titans shredding Sierra’s press and both Jesse Reeves and Kane Hamilton finding seams to the hoop.
The Panthers went on a 7-0 run midway through the first quarter but the Titans responded when Reeves drained a 10-foot jumper and Kane broke free for a dunk to close the Panther lead to three points.
But Sierra Grande’s shooters, one in particular, got red hot from the perimeter and lit it up from three-point land in the second quarter.
The Titans ran their offense to find good looks but Sierra Grande would respond with another three-pointer to build a 32-18 lead by halftime.
“He had the night of his life,” says Brandin. “He got out there, knocked down some shots and got hot.”
Despite the damage, Brandin felt there was a chance for a change in the momentum but the change never came.
Sierra Grande continued to pour it on and while their shooters started missing, they had five guys crashing the boards to get second and third chances at the basket.
Fitness, or lack thereof, then took its toll on the Titans as the Panthers just kept coming at them, building a 21-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.
“We’re out of shape, plain and simple gassed,” says Brandin. “I told them to just keep battling and we can learn something from this.”
Sierra Grande would go on to grab 12 offensive boards in the second half alone, finish the night shooting nine-for-13 from three-point land and exploit the Titans’ 26 turnovers to finish the Titans 63-42.
Reeves led the Titans with 17 points, Kane scored 11 and grabbed five rebounds and Costello finished with 10 points and six rebounds.
With that game out of the way, Brandin now has a healthy starting squad for workouts this week and looks to rebuild for their next two league games this coming weekend.
“We probably had our best practice in a month on Monday,” says Brandin. “I still think we have enough ability to compete in our district.”
The Titans head to South Park on Friday, February 8 and then host Custer County in mighty Mt. Olympus on Saturday, February 9. Tip off for the boys’ varsity will be at 2:30 p.m.