“We’re going to have to be really good at what we do”
With such a young team, Crested Butte Titans girls basketball coach Mike Moran knew heading into the season it would be one of progression and improvement. Start from the beginning and move forward at a slow and steady pace.
After a couple weeks of preseason training, coach Moran and the team got a small glimpse into their progression as they hosted a couple of scrimmages against Salida and Cotopaxi two weeks ago.
The focus for the scrimmages was pretty simple: Concentrate on the fast break, try to beat the defense down the floor and, of course, work on fundamentals. In the end the Titans got a bit of a thrashing from the two teams but there’s always a positive to be found.
“I was very encouraged by the girls’ attitude and effort,” says Moran. “We have a long way to go.”
Nevertheless, the scrimmages gave the young team some much-needed varsity experience before opening the regular season with the South Park Tournament December 5-6.
They opened the tournament on Friday, December 5 against the South Park Burros. Last year, with a squad flush with seniors, the Titans had little problem with the Burros. This time around, with a team flush with underclassmen, the Titans had trouble containing the Burros, specifically their two big girls inside.
The Titans fell behind early and were down 28-8 at halftime. In an effort to contain the Burros’ inside game, the Titans moved to a 2-3 zone but the South Park inside game proved too strong to shut down, as the Titans fell 48-20.
Senior Courtney Kopf led the team with eight points, followed by freshman point guard Sydney Petersen, who added in four.
“We just could not stop their big girls inside,” says Moran.
The Titans returned to the court on Saturday, December 6 to face Platte Canyon with a renewed sense of purpose.
“I knew that the girls would play better the second night,” says Moran.
The Titans held Platte Canyon in check and were pushing the pace down 24-19 with four minutes left to play.
“We started pressing—we just can’t sit and wait for teams to come down the floor,” says Moran.
The Titans’ press proved effective as they forced several Platte Canyon turnovers, but Crested Butte struggled to turn turnovers and free throws into points, eventually falling 30-21.
“We had our chances to win it; we just missed free throws and lay-ups down the stretch,” says Moran. “It was an exciting game to be a part of and the crowd was really into it.”
Sophomore Sydney Buehler led all Titans with 13 points and Ariel Kilpatrick dropped in four points.
The Titans have their hands full this weekend as they host 2A powerhouse Ridgway on Friday, December 12 and then hit the road to play 1A powerhouse Nucla on Saturday, December 13.
“It’s going to be a tough weekend but that’s what makes us better,” says Moran. “We’re young but it’s exciting and one thing is for sure, these girls come to play. We’re going to have to be really good at what we do.”
Tip-off for the Titans first home game of the season on Friday is at 5 p.m. in mighty Mt. Olympus.