Return to action on January 5
by Than Acuff
It was so close but not quite enough as the Crested Butte Titans girls basketball team fell to the Ridgway Demons 44-42 in Mt. Olympus on Thursday, December 20.
The Titans were coming into the game off a tough road loss to Lake County on Tuesday, December 18. Lake County proved to be too overpowering for the Titans as they jumped out to a 20-5 lead in the first quarter and never looked back, to win 68-14.
“I had some girls unable to play and Lake County just had numbers and it’s hard to keep up with that,” says coach Vaden Holmes. “They were definitely a good team.”
Determined to prevent an early deficit like the Lake County game, the Titans came out against Ridgway on their toes, winning the opening tip-off and going from there. Sophia Truex opened the scoring knocking one in off the glass and Alex Downey scored four points and recorded a block to keep the Titans close to Ridgway at the close of the first quarter.
“I thought it was a great start and we definitely played well but I still think we came out a little timid,” says Holmes.
Truex opened the second quarter scoring three quick points and sister Siena Truex sprinted up court for a quick transition basket, but Ridgway showed no signs of slowing down either, as they built a 19-11 lead midway through the second quarter.
Holmes called a timeout before the game could get away from her team and the Titans came out of the break with a new spring in their step. Kate Sherman pulled down an offensive rebound and scored, three quick passes set up Sophia for a lay-up and both Siena and Sophia scored down the stretch to help pull the Titans to within five points by halftime.
“I was glad we didn’t go into the half having to dig ourselves out of a 20-point hole,” says Holmes. “We’d been working a lot on our fast break and transition game and we didn’t really run our offense, there was a lot of improvising and we were doing whatever felt right. It was great to see because it means they’ve improved their basketball IQ and progressed as players.”
Kelly Sherman opened the third quarter knocking down a 12-foot jumper and Downey dropped in another bucket for Crested Butte to pull the Titans to within two, but the Demons responded with a three-pointer and continued to hold the Titans at bay.
Crested Butte was in battle mode at this point and every time the Demons flirted with taking the game over, the Titans would fight back and keep Ridgway within striking distance.
Ridgway pulled ahead 32-25 midway through the third quarter, but Crested Butte remained strong to keep the game close. A three-pointer from Siena and baskets from Downey and Kelly Sherman soon had the Titans back to within one point, with the teams continuing to trade off baskets.
“The difference was that we truly wanted it and believed we could get it,” says Holmes.
Ridgway came back to go up by five points with two minutes left and both teams struggled to score, but time started ticking away from Crested Butte. Kelly drained one last three-pointer in the final seconds of the game but it was too little, too late for the Titans, as they lost 44-42.
“I’ve told them from the beginning that defense wins games,” says Holmes. “There were some small holes in our defense that allowed cheap buckets. If we played a little more disciplined, that would have made the difference.”
The Titans will take a break for the holidays but Holmes plans on getting the team back in the gym at the start of the new year, as they return to action on Saturday, January 5 when they hit the road to face Creede.