“We still need confidence and experience and that comes with time”
by Than Acuff
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I must note that the Crested Butte Titans girls basketball team is nothing like the team that first took the floor for pre-season workouts back in November. Through hard work, quality coaching and a never-say-die attitude, they continue to plug away and are ready to take the next step. It just might not be until next season.
Sure, they lost both games this past week, falling to the Cotopaxi Pirates on Thursday, February 1 and then again to the Sanford Indians on Saturday, February 3, but if they could just somehow channel their play from the first quarter against Sanford into a full game, then we’re talking.
The team headed to Cotopaxi for a non-league showdown that would prove to be another tough game for the Titans. While Cotopaxi hails from class 1A, they are in the midst of a strong season, including a couple of wins over strong 2A programs from Crested Butte’s league.
The Pirates jumped out to a 16-7 lead in the first quarter, using their one glaring advantage to carry them.
“They’re a really tall team and they played good defense and that was hard for us to compete with,” says coach Vaden Holmes. “But we kept battling back and forth with them.”
Cotopaxi’s height advantage soon took over completely as they outscored the Titans 13-2 in the second quarter to go up 29-9 heading into halftime.
The Titans found some seams past the Pirates’ height in the third quarter, using some back-door cuts to get looks at the basket and get back on the scoring track but the Pirates proved unstoppable on offense, winning rebounds and putting up numerous shots to score another 17 points in the third quarter.
The coaches then turned to their benches for the fourth quarter as Cotopaxi cruised to a 50-19 win.
“We definitely played a solid game and we knew we had to compensate for their height but they just out-rebounded us and it was hard to keep it going,” says Holmes.
The Titans returned to Mt. Olympus on Saturday, February 3 to host the Sanford Indians. The last time the two teams met, Sanford handed the Titans a 62-2 drubbing but Holmes still looked to her girls to make the most of their second meeting.
“I just told the girls we have nothing to lose and everything to prove and to leave it all on the court,” says Holmes.
The Titan girls stepped up to the challenge in the first quarter with a smothering defense, hard-nosed rebounding and setting up and running their press break and offense. The Indians tried to rattle the Titans with a full court press but Crested Butte responded so well that they linked together their best press break of the season which set up Alex Downey for an easy lay-up to pull within three points of Sanford at the end of the first quarter.
“Sanford expected us to be the same team they played earlier in the season and I think we took them by surprise,” says Holmes.
Eventually, though, experience would play out in Sanford’s favor as continued pressure eventually wore down the Titans and Crested Butte ultimately lost 64-10.
“That first quarter was reflective of the team we can be but we’re young and we still make mistakes,” says Holmes. “We still need confidence and experience and that comes with time. I’m not expecting a complete turnaround but the more we play like that now, it will benefit us down the road.”
The Titans host the Custer County Bobcats this Friday, February 9 in Mt. Olympus at 5:30 p.m.