Late game surge paces team to win over Ridgway
by Than Acuff
After dropping their first four games of the season, the Crested Butte Titans girls basketball team rallied to win two in a row this past weekend, taking down the Ridgway Demons on the road Friday, December 15 and then returning to Mt. Olympus on Saturday to edge out a win against the Telluride Miners.
The Titans struggled through the first two quarters of the Ridgway game, scoring just two points in the first quarter and six in the second to fall behind 18-8 heading into halftime.
“We were all very calm and collected and didn’t think we were going to lose,” says coach Vaden Holmes. “They just had one girl who was knocking down shots and we weren’t addressing that. I just told them to come out in the second half aggressive and with more intensity.”
The Titans clamped down on defense in the third quarter, mixing in a press and extending their zone defense. The move started to fluster the Demons as they were held to just five points in the third quarter, but the Titans managed just four points and Holmes called on her team to step things up on offense as well.
“I told them we needed to start driving to the bucket and they listened,” says Holmes.
The mix of stout defense and aggressive offense turned the tide in the Titans’ favor as they caught fire in the fourth quarter. Slowly but surely the Titans chipped away at the Demons’ lead throughout the quarter, ultimately taking a 25-24 lead as foul trouble left the Demons with just four players on the floor. Freshman Sophia Truex then sealed the 27-24 win, sinking a couple of free throws at the end.
“Ridgway was just frustrated because we were playing some aggressive defense and we capitalized on that,” says Holmes. “Then we just started scoring points and building from there.”
Sophia Truex led the Titans with 11 points and senior Catherine Washburn finished with 10 points and seven rebounds.
The Titans looked to carry their momentum back home as they took to the court in Mt. Olympus on Saturday, December 16 to host the Telluride Miners. While the Titans defense remained intact, their offense struggled, allowing the Miners to take a 7-4 lead into halftime with Truex and Alex Downey scoring the four Titan points.
“We missed some critical easy points early, missing lay-ups and free throws,” explains Holmes.
The Titans fired off four points to start off the third quarter with Washburn knocking down three of them for an 8-7 lead. Telluride tied it up heading into the fourth quarter but the Titans got a spark when Siena Truex hit a 10-foot jumper, Sophia drained a 14-footer and Downey continued to crash the boards for rebounds. Washburn kept the Titans on track through the fourth quarter with rebounds and directing the team and the Truex sisters finished the game, hitting three of four free throws for the 16-11 win.
“I never felt threatened and I just tried to convey that to the team and told them to just keep taking shots and eventually some will fall,” says Holmes.
The Titans now head into the Christmas break with their next games not until January 5-6.
“It was a really good weekend,” says Holmes. “I think we needed something positive to go into the break with.”