Looking ahead to continue building program
by Than Acuff
The Crested Butte Titans girls basketball season came to a close last week, falling to Sanford in the first round of the district tournament last week.
It was another tough season for the Titans, yet they continued to work under the guidance of head coach Mike Moran and assistant coach Lis Collins. Year in and year out, Moran touted the work ethic and attitude of his players and they maintained that attitude all season again this year. The team notched just one win in each of the last two seasons but this year it appeared they are on the road to future success with three wins.
“We moved up in the RPI [overall] rankings 12 spots from last year so there’s definitely been an improvement,” says Moran. “They just continued to battle and there were teams we were competitive with and some more games I thought we should have won. I think we did the best we could.”
The girls finished the regular season with a 59-11 loss to Del Norte. Del Norte is one of the top teams in the state and they showed no mercy to the Titans with an oppressive press and half court trap to open the game building a 27-1 lead.
Del Norte continued with their modus operandi throughout the second quarter, piling on the points while handcuffing the Titans’ offense. Remarkably, as has been the case all season long, the Titans continued to work hard.
Sarah Johnson was out-sized inside but still battled for rebounds, Tess Fenerty turned the ball over only to hustle back to block the open lay-up while Siena Truex and Sydney Petersen were seen diving for loose balls.
Del Norte finally eased off of the throttle in the fourth quarter and Moran was able to get some of his up and coming players in the game. Olivia Gordon hit a six-foot jumper, Maya Chandler provided heavy pressure on defense, Maddie Pankey drained a couple of free throws and Kelly Sherman scored off an inbounds lob. The Titans bench played even with the Del Norte subs throughout the fourth quarter before the final buzzer sounding the 59-11 loss.
“We knew it was going to be a tough end to the regular season. We were just exhausted, both physically and mentally,” says Moran.
The Titans then headed to Sanford on Tuesday, February 21 for their first-round district game against Sanford and fell 82-20, putting an end to the Titans’ season.
“I’m just so proud of them for the way they finished. They just never gave up,” says Moran. “We can compete. We just have to be able to put it in the hole.”
Petersen led the team in scoring for the season and was named the team MVP with Truex just one point behind her in points, while Lily Talbot finished the season in second in all categories from rebounds, to points, to blocks. All three of them will return to play next year.
Furthermore, the Titans have a slew of young talent who had quality minutes this season to gain additional experience for the years to come.
“There are some great kids coming up and they’ve shown some things the times they got into the varsity games,” says Moran. “There are some bright lights ahead. We just gotta keep trying. That’s all we can do.”