Injuries, illnesses lead to tough times
by Than Acuff
Small team, short bench, illnesses, injuries—you name it—and the Crested Butte Titans girls basketball team is suffering from it, yet they still keep plugging away.
“They don’t back down,” says coach Mike Moran. “We’re not the most talented team but you can’t question their heart.”
The Titans had an opportunity to get their feet under them after a frantic start to the season when the holiday break hit, but players went MIA during the break, missing practices during the down time and leaving them to start from scratch when they returned to school last week.
“We were basically starting all over again,” says Moran.
They headed to Creede on Friday, January 6 to take on the Pioneers and looking to make the most of a tough situation. Crested Butte has been close to beating Creede the past three years but Creede picked up some size for this season, making it hard for the Titans to do anything inside the entire game.
“They’re the biggest team we’ve seen and it really hurt us,” says Moran. “They played zone and just packed it in on the inside.”
The Titans adjusted accordingly but cold shooting made for a tough first half as the Titans were down 20-13 at halftime.
“We executed really well on offense but didn’t knock down the shots the way we needed to,” says Moran.
The Titans then got even colder in the third quarter, scoring just four points as shots continued to bounce in, around and out of the basket.
“Sydney had two three-point shots that rolled around the rim and out,” says Moran. “If those go in, it’s a different game.”
The Titans outscored Creede in the fourth quarter but the damage was done as Creede held on for the 34-22 win. Sydney Petersen led the Titans with 15 points, followed by Lily Talbot with six and Siena Truex with five points.
“We were never really out of it—we battled and hung in there,” says Moran. “They just held us off with their size.”
Unfortunately, given the effort of the Titans against Creede and his short bench, Moran knew their game the following day against Sanford would be brutal.
Ultimately it was, as the Titans came out slow and never recovered, to fall to Sanford 60-13.
“They’re the best defensive team I’ve ever seen and we’re just not able to handle the pressure up-front,” says Moran.
Highlights for the Titans came in three-pointers from both Truex and Petersen and the effort of Talbot and Tess Fenerty. Moran worked his bench as best he could and the girls continued fighting all four quarters, but Sanford is too much of a force to wear down.
The Titans will host three home games in a row this weekend, starting with Cripple Creek on Friday, January 13 at 5:30 p.m. They then face South Park on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. and Ridgway on Monday, January 16 at 5:30 p.m.
“We should match up well with all three teams,” says Moran. “We just need to play well and not worry about winning. We can play a lot better than we are and one of these games we’ll see it.”