Rebound from series of losses
by Than Acuff
To put things into perspective, the Titans girls basketball team may have the toughest schedule of most, if not all, 2A girls programs. For starters, they play in one of the top leagues in the state with the top three teams from the Southern Peaks league—all perennial state contenders. Then, when the Titans do step out of league play as they did Thursday, February 2 to host Cotopaxi, they faced one of the top 1A teams in the state. And while they struggled against Cotopaxi and were run over by Sanford on Saturday, they rebounded to take down Ridgway 33-17 on Monday, February 6 at home.
The Titans got off to a slow start against the Cotopaxi Pirates falling behind 19-4 in the first half despite the efforts of both Grace and Sarah Johnson inside and the all out hustle by both Sydney Petersen and Siena Truex
The Titans opened the second half far more composed on offense and started to find a rhythm while their defense remained stout. Sarah scored a basket inside off an inbounds play and Truex hit a 12-foot jumper and things were clicking before Cotopaxi called a timeout.
Then cold shooting took hold of the Titans’ offense. While Crested Butte found seams through the Cotopaxi zone and saw some looks from outside, the shots missed their mark. Meanwhile, the Titans defense did their job, but a series of misses allowed the Pirates to hold on to 16-point lead going into the fourth quarter.
Both teams struggled to score in the fourth quarter. While the Titan defense was the cause of the Pirates struggles on offense, the Titans cold hands proved their biggest enemy as the Pirates held on for the 30-8 win.
“I thought we played pretty good, we just couldn’t get any shots to fall,” says Petersen.
Crested Butte then returned to the road on Saturday to face the Sanford Indians who sit in second place in the Southern Peaks league.
Sanford is overpowering to say the least and regardless of their opponent, have no qualms with running at full speed for all four quarters. Such was the case on Saturday as they ran roughshod over the Titans 61-6. Despite the final score, there was an upside to the game.
“All season long we’d been struggling with starting our games better and I felt we started that game really strong,” says Petersen.
Bruised and battered, the Titans returned to Mt. Olympus on Monday to face the Ridgway Demons. The Demons are having a similarly tough season so the game could have easily gone either way. Fortunately, while the season has been tough, the Titans proved far more resilient as they put together four solid quarters enroute to the win.
Petersen admits that while the team was confident heading in, there were some nerves but the faith of their coach Mike Moran helped inspire the squad.
“He felt really confident in us and that definitely helped us,“ says Petersen.
The Titans opened the game firing on all pistons as Truex knocked down a couple jump shots and Sarah and Grace each scored from 10 feet out to help pace the Titans to an 8-2 lead. The Demons picked up their play to close the gap at the end of the first quarter and carried their momentum into the second quarter before the Titans settled in and started to take over the game.
Petersen sliced through the lane to take a pass from Sarah and finish the lay up. Tess Fenerty stole the ball and sprinted ahead for another lay up, Petersen scored again, Marion Chater hit an eight-foot jumper and when Lily Talbot hit one of two free throws, the Titans were on top 17-8 heading into halftime.
“We felt pretty confident after the first half but everyone was committed to pushing even more,” says Petersen.
The Titans continued to press in the second half keeping the Demons on their heels. Truex scored six more points in the third quarter and Petersen drained a three-pointer at the start of the fourth for a 27-13 Titans’ lead. The Titans bench did the rest of the job holding the lead through the final three minutes of the game as the Titans recorded their third win of the season winning 33-17. Truex led all scorers with 12 points followed by Petersen with eight.
“The team environment was really good during that game, just a great team effort,” says Petersen. “It felt great and it came at a really good time for our team.”
Petersen is looking for the win to help build additional confidence among the team as they head to Custer County on Friday, February 10 and then return home on Saturday to host the South Park Burros, tip off is at 2:30 p.m.