“We limit ourselves”
by Than Acuff
The Crested Butte Titans girls basketball team looked to be turning a big corner in the final weeks of the regular season. Offensive production was way up as players gained confidence shooting and their half court defense was coming together.
While a win was within reach in the previous week, they came up short, but when they hosted South Park on Thursday, February 14, confidence was high.
Coach Vaden Holmes had an idea of what to expect from South Park and planned accordingly, but what she saw was a little different than expected.
“I expected them to be fast and really push the ball,” says Holmes, “but right at the opening tip-off, I saw a different team.”
While South Park won the opening tip-off, Madison Pankey slid in front of a South Park player to intercept the tip and drove straight to the hoop for an easy lay-up. South Park rattled off the next seven points but Sophia Truex hit a three-pointer and Alex Downey sank a 10-foot jump to hold South Park in check.
South Park continued to attack and took advantage of the open court to generate points but before the game could get away, Kelly Sherman pulled down an offensive rebound and scored to pull the Titans within six points at the close of the first quarter.
“We played a little bit below what we are capable of,” says Holmes. “We limit ourselves.”
South Park continued to find success in broken plays and transition offense to open the second quarter with a 12-2 run but a timeout called by Holmes stemmed the tide. The Titans came out of the break more focused and responded with an 8-2 run as Sophia knocked down two jumpers and sister Siena Truex scored four points to join in the quick Titans burst.
While Crested Butte stepped up their effort on the boards in the second half, led by Downey’s work in the paint, they struggled on offense and South Park put the game out of reach by the end of the third quarter building a 37-23 lead.
The Titans continued to work and knocked down some buckets with Siena, Sophia and Sherman all finding success on offense, yet they still fell 56-31. Sophia led the team with 11 points.
“I liked that we pushed and pressured the ball,” says Holmes. “We were able to improvise more but I don’t think we really ran our offense very much. Now they need to determine when it’s best to improvise and when it’s not.”
Crested Butte closed out the regular season on the road, falling to Sargent 70-18 on Saturday, February 16.
“I was a little disappointed,” says Holmes. “The most frustrating part was that we let the game get away from us. We just didn’t play them as tough as we did the first time we played them this season.”
The Titans will now face the number one seeded Del Norte Tigers in the first round of the district tournament.
“Maybe we don’t expect to win but that doesn’t mean we don’t go in with any less intensity.” Says Holmes. “They’re high school players just like us and high school players make mistakes. We just need to have integrity and the right mindset going into that game.”