“Honestly, I think any team has the potential to win”
by Than Acuff
The Crested Butte Titans girls basketball team has been through the ringer in recent years but they keep returning, determined to turn the program around. The team spent the past several years under the expert tutelage of head coach Mike Moran, who focused on building a solid foundation for future success.
Unfortunately, Moran could not stick around to coach them again this season and possibly reap the rewards of all the hard work he put in with the team. The call went out to find a new head coach for the upcoming season and Vaden Holmes answered.
Holmes grew up playing basketball since she was three and was a key player on a successful Peyton High School girls team, reaching the state tournament three out of her four years on the team, finishing fourth in the state her junior year.
Holmes is currently a student at Western State Colorado University and decided to jump back into the basketball fray and take over the Titans’ program.
“I’m planning on becoming a high school counselor and wanted to coach,” says Holmes.
The first task for Holmes was to find an assistant. After speaking with Landrum Tyson, she and the interview committee made the decision immediately.
“He came in for an interview and we liked him and hired him,” says Holmes. “He’s been a great help.”
Next on the list for Holmes: getting introductions out of the way and initiating the move from one coach to a new coach.
“I felt like I had some shoes to fill there and a coaching transition can be difficult for a team,” says Holmes.
Holmes noticed one thing right away, something she also experienced as a player at Peyton.
“Coming from a small school, I always admired the continuity on a small program,” says Holmes. “That definitely sticks out with a small group of girls like this.”
And small is the operative word as the team has 12, possibly 13, players total on the program. Nevertheless, Holmes has already picked up on the fact that what they lack in numbers, they more than make up for in effort.
“I realized right away that they’re pretty tightly knit and are all very willing to work hard,” says Holmes. “They’re all willing to work to accomplish one thing—to win.”
While wins have been few and far between for the Titan girls, Holmes is anything but discouraged by their past results.
“Honestly, I think any team has the potential to win,” says Holmes.
Holmes has the girls working hard during pre-season workouts and testing their skill level and focusing on them on an individual level.
“We’re working hard in practices and practicing fundamentals and getting a feel for where we’re at skill-wise, which will give us that platform to win,” says Holmes.
Holmes looks to take some of what she learned playing at Peyton and apply that to the Titans team when and where possible.
“I definitely value a lot of the things I was taught in high school and I would love to transfer it over to this team but sometimes it might not be the right fit so it will be a mix of that and some new things,” explains Holmes.
The team lost three seniors to graduation but has a solid senior class this season with Sydney Petersen, Catherine Washburn and Lily Talbot. In addition, several of the younger players got key varsity minutes last year, showing promise and they should be able to build off of that experience for this season.
The team will get its first test at the annual season opening tournament in South Park December 1-2.