Cold shooting, foul trouble brings demise
by Than Acuff
It was a tale of two teams Friday, December 7 when the Crested Butte Titan boys basketball team tipped off against the Ouray Trojans. The game started off well enough for Crested Butte but as it wore on, the game got away from the Titans as they eventually fell 44-36.
On one side of the court, defensively, the Titans were solid. On the other side, offensively, the Titans looked good but they just could not get the shots to fall, at all. In fact, the team shot an abysmal 18 percent from the floor when all was said and done.
Crested Butte started off strong, building a 7-2 lead capped by an offensive rebound and basket from Ty Sherman. The Trojans scored the next four points though to cut Crested Butte’s lead down to one by the end of the first quarter.
“I don’t think it was a hot start,” says coach Brandin Hamilton. “We were just reasonable on offense and played good defense.”
Crested Butte added to their lead in the first four minutes of the second quarter as Jovany Aguirre drained a three-pointer and Josh Merck slipped a pass to Alexander Dumas cutting to the basket for two in traffic and a 15-8 lead. Ouray battled back to tie it up, Ethan Bacani hit a three-pointer to hold the lead, but then Ouray scored seven of the last nine points of the half to take a 23-21 lead.
“Our defense stayed strong, we just went cold and got out of rhythm offensively,” says Hamilton. “Our press was doing great but we weren’t able to set up our press because we were missing shots. Still, I wasn’t unhappy at halftime.”
Things went from bad to worse, offensively that is, for the Titans in the third quarter. Crested Butte failed to score a single basket the entire quarter, hitting just two free throws for their only points. Fortunately, they gave up only five points to Ouray and were down just 28-24 with one quarter to go.
“You could tell we were getting frustrated because nobody was hitting shots,” says Hamilton. “Going into the fourth quarter though, we thought we still had a great chance to win the game.”
Tommy Linehan and Merck each got the Titans back on the scoring track as Linehan scored four in the paint off assists from Eric Wasinger and Merck dropped in another two in traffic. But foul trouble continued to plague the Titans and as the game continued, the Titans started to gamble up and down the court, causing more struggles, and Ouray managed to pull away for the 44-36 win.
“We started gambling more than we needed to and foul trouble took its toll,” says Hamilton. “There was some inexperience in our press down the stretch and we made some early season mistakes and they were able to capitalize.”
Aguirre led the Titans with 10 points, a handful of others scored around five each, Linehan grabbed six rebounds and Bacani finished the game with eight steals.
“We showed depth and hopefully that will translate when we start knocking shots down,” says Hamilton.
The Titans hit the road this Saturday, December 15 to take on the Telluride Miners in Telluride.
“They’re good, but I like our chances,” says Hamilton. “It’s not a matter of personnel or schemes, it’s just a matter of hitting shots.”