Taking steps in the right direction
by Than Acuff
The Crested Butte Titans girls basketball team may have just lost another two games this past weekend, but coach Vaden Holmes was excited about what she saw anyway.
“This weekend was probably the first full weekend of basketball I’ve seen them play,” says Holmes.
Hopes were high heading into the games against Cripple Creek and South Park. The Titans faced both teams earlier in the year and while they lost both games, Holmes and the team believed they could possibly win one out of the two.
As a result, the workouts following the holiday break were lively and the team was carrying some confidence into the weekend.
“We had a really good week of practice,” says Holmes.
The Titans opened the two-game road trip on Cripple Creek and were set on slowing down their top scorer, who was racking up close to 30 points per game.
That focus did have an effect on the Titans in the opening quarter and while they managed to slow down Cripple Creek’s prolific scorer, they struggled on offense, falling behind 10-2.
“Going in we were really focused on keeping their leading scorer down, focused on defense and just running through our plays on offense,” says Holmes. “Unfortunately our shots just weren’t falling.”
Cripple Creek’s leading player got into early foul trouble though and had to sit for most of the second quarter. In the meantime, the Titans took advantage of the situation to battle back and pull within three points by halftime.
“We were playing really well and with their top scorer out, it gave us more of an opportunity to start scoring,” says Holmes.
The Titans carried that momentum into the third quarter and were nipping at the heels of Cripple Creek, down just 15-14 heading into the fourth quarter.
“We were battling for sure,” says Holmes.
Unfortunately, a string of Titan miscues in the fourth quarter allowed the game to open up for Cripple Creek as they started building a gap. Cripple Creek’s top scorer benefited from the mayhem and they outscored the Titans 18-7 down the stretch for the 33-21 win.
“It got chaotic for sure and we started turning the ball over and lost our footing for sure,” says Holmes.
The Titans then headed to South Park for another rematch. Again, while the Titans lost to South Park earlier in the year, Holmes felt they could do a better job the second time around.
“We hung with them the last time through the entire first half so we were expecting to do better this time,” says Holmes.
South Park had something else in mind though, coming out determined to end the game early, building a 13-2 lead in the first quarter and then opening up a 21-5 lead by halftime. They kept the throttle pressed through the second half and injuries started to hamper the Titans as they eventually fell 49-8.
“We played pretty well. They just obviously hit a lot more shots,” says Holmes. “And when we lost both Siena Truex and Catherine Washburn toward the end, it’s hard for the bench players to come into a game like that.”
While results were down for the Titans from the road trip, excitement remains somewhat high for Holmes.
“It looked like we were really playing basketball and starting to get our basketball IQ up,” says Holmes.
The girls will head to Center on Saturday, January 20 for another road trip challenge.