“His feet were set and he got the ball and one-two-FLUSH, like a seven-footer should do”
by Than Acuff
The Crested Butte Titan boys had their best weekend of basketball all season, beating Creede/Lake City 51-35 in mighty Mt. Olympus on Friday, February 12, and following that with a 55-31 road win over South Park the next day.
Coach Brandin Hamilton expected a rough game against Creede for his team; his squad somewhat depleted by illness made for a week of low-energy workouts leading up to the game.
“I was just trying to rotate sick guys in and out of the game,” said Hamilton.
His fears were soon realized in the opening minutes of the first quarter as the Titans struggled to build any momentum against Creede. Jacob Monroe scored when John Theis won the opening tip and Theis and Noah Dumas provided a good start to the Titans inside/outside game with a bucket in the paint and a three-pointer from Dumas, but Creede responded on each trip up the court.
“I gotta give credit to Creede,” said Hamilton. “Their offense was patient and waited for us to over-extend and that’s what we were doing.”
The Titans closed the first quarter on a high note as David Wasinger drove to the hole for a lay-up and a Theis block turned into a tear-drop bucket by Monroe at the buzzer, but the Titans were still up just six points.
The second quarter played out much like the first as the Titans’ offense continued to click but Creede exploited the Titans’ defense when they made mistakes. Their press managed to disrupt Creede at times but also created havoc for the Titans and Creede pulled to within three points before Crested Butte closed the half strong. Wasinger found another lane to the basket to score two in traffic and Theis dropped in a basket at the buzzer for a 24-17 lead heading into halftime. But Hamilton needed things to change.
“We talked about staying low defensively, not going for too much and just playing fundamentally sound,” said Hamilton.
The Titans responded accordingly on defense and spread the scoring to build a sizeable lead. Four different Titans scored in the third quarter, led by Wasinger with six points, as the Titans outscored Creede 19-5 to pull ahead 41-22 by the start of the fourth quarter.
“Defensively we tightened up and offensively we executed,” said Hamilton. “I think that was our best quarter of the year.”
The Titans then set into cruise control, managing their lead while still working on their game plan. Broderick Truettner joined the scoring attack with four points, Wasinger dropped in a basket, Theis added in some points in the paint and Quinn Farnell finished the scoring with a shot high off the glass as the Titans closed out the 51-35 win.
Wasinger led the Titans with 15 points, followed by Monroe and Theis with 10 points each.
“I was really happy about the second half of that game,” said Hamilton.
Their effort against Creede in the second half then poured over into the first half of their game against South Park the next day.
Joseph Cummins opened the game with a three-pointer and remained hot in the first half, the Titans offense was clicking once again and the defense held South Park to 10 points in the first half to build a 29-10 lead.
“We made it hard for them to bring the ball up and get anything going,” said Hamilton.
The Titans continued to maintain control in the second half, closing out South Park 55-31. Four Titans scored in double-digits, led by Cummins with 16 points but the highlight came from Theis as he joined the exclusive Titans’ Dunk Club. Brent Fowler was the first Titan to dunk, Matt Martin the second, John Wright joined the club several times during his prolific career and now Theis is in after his dunk in South Park.
“His feet were set and he got the ball and one-two-FLUSH, like a seven-footer should do,” said Hamilton. “He was flipping out.”
The Titans have two more games left in regular season play and finish at home when they host the Sanford Indians, the top ranked team in the state, on Saturday, February 20.
Crested Butte will open the district playoffs on Thursday, February 25 and Hamilton is looking forward to the post season.
“I feel good about where we are right now and I think this could be the best chance we have had to make it to regionals since we moved up to 2A,” said Hamilton.