“They’re a competitive group of guys”
by Than Acuff
The Crested Butte Titans boys basketball season came to a close as they fell to the Sargent Farmers in the first round of the district tournament last week.
It’s been a tough year for the Titans team, often flirting with upset wins only to fall short in the end and then dropping games to lesser opponents.
Heading into the final game of the regular season against Sargent, coach Brandon Hamilton knew his team would be facing Sargent again two days later in the district tournament so he used the game as a chance to experiment with a couple of different things to see if the Titans could find a way to upset the Farmers in the post-season.
“We worked on a different zone defense and on building a rhythm on offense against them,” says Hamilton. “We felt pretty good about things and went into the district game with the idea that we could win the game. The energy was really high.”
For the first six minutes of the playoff game, everything was in place and working, except for one key component. While the Titans defense held Sargent scoreless and managed to handle the pressure the Sargent defense threw at them, Crested Butte struggled to score as well.
“We had their offense dialed, we got the shots we wanted, got the matchups we wanted, we just started ice cold,” says Hamilton. “Our shots just didn’t fall.”
The Farmers started to find success on transition, getting the ball up-court quickly for brief looks and the Sargent shots started falling.
“I looked up and we were down 13-0,” says Hamilton.
The Titans closed the first quarter down 13-3, with Jovany Aguirre providing the only points with a three-pointer but with plenty of game left, Hamilton reminded his players there’s no need to panic.
“I told the guys that it’s a game of runs and that they weren’t overwhelming us, we were just down on ourselves,” says Hamilton.
Ethan Bacani knocked down a shot early in the second quarter and Josh Merck dropped in four points to hold some hope, but the Farmers had an answer for each Titan basket and then some. While some Sargent shots may have missed the mark, their big guy inside was always there for the put-back as the Farmers pulled ahead 24-9 by halftime.
“They were feeling and, offensively, we were not,” says Hamilton.
Sargent then had an explosive third quarter, opening with a 15-2 run, mixing in bombs from behind the three-point line to put-backs in the paint. While Crested Butte’s offense showed signs of life scoring 11 points in the third quarter, the other end of the court proved troublesome.
“Where we picked it up offensively, we lost it defensively and Sargent was red hot,” says Hamilton.
The Titans put up 18 points in the fourth quarter while Sargent settled into just closing the game out and cruising to the 60-38 win, putting an end to the Titans’ season. Bacani led the Titans with nine points.
“We never really seemed to get going consistently on the offensive side,” says Hamilton. “A couple of baskets here and there and the season looks entirely different. They’re a competitive group of guys. Things just didn’t seem to go their way.”