“They connected more and got their confidence back”
by Than Acuff
The experimental JV season for the Crested Butte Titans girl’s basketball season came to a close on Saturday, February 22 with a tough loss to the Sargent Farmers. The Titans suffered the perils of the February break as limited numbers meant limited workouts and a roster of just seven girls for their game against Sargent so, not only were numbers down, but shots were off and energy was mixed.
“We had a lot of kids out of town for break and a week off is going to be detrimental,” says coach Vaden Holmes.
It also didn’t help that the Farmers opened the game red-hot, hitting back-to-back three pointers to start things off.
“That took down our confidence,” says Holmes.
Naomi Bilow knocked down a 14-footer to open things for Crested Butte and Alex Downey hit a jumper as well to get the Titans going. In addition, Holmes had the girls run through a new press she explained just prior to the game and that helped stem the Farmer tide midway through the first quarter.
“I thought that ended up looking pretty good,” says Holmes.
But, as the quarter wore on, the Farmers maintained their hot hand at shooting, building a 23-5 lead heading into the second quarter.
Things started to turn a little for Crested Butte as tight defense paired with five straight points from Blakely Reynolds had Crested Butte back on track. But again the lack of workouts and gym time started to wear on Crested Butte as their shots remained a bit off target. The Farmers closed the first half with an 11-2 run to head into halftime up 39-11.
Holmes took the opportunity during the break to remind her team that this was the last game of the season and it was all or nothing as far as how they wanted to finish. The Titans took her words to heart and came out in the third quarter far more energized and on point at both ends of the court.
Mara Pennie continued her work on rebounds and dropped in two points in traffic. Lhotse Wychoff got her shot back on target with a couple of three pointers and Reynolds drove from the wing to score and hit a free throw as Crested Butte outscored Sargent in the third quarter.
“I told them this is their last game and I think getting back into the rhythm of the game was a big part of that quarter,” says Holmes.
The Titans then turned cold again from the floor in the fourth quarter and Sargent continued to pull away to take down Crested Butte 57-25.
The game wrapped up the experimental season for Crested Butte as low numbers and a young team had the Titans play a predominantly JV schedule. In the end, Holmes found the new schedule to be overwhelmingly successful.
“Overall the season was way better than in the past. They connected more and got their confidence back,” says Holmes. “I love defense and the press is my favorite thing so this season I was able to implement that more and I felt like I was able to work more on strategy. No matter who we played, whether it was a JV team or a varsity team, a win was a win and those were good for them and helps build morale.”
As for next year, things are still in the air whether or not they will spend another season rebuilding for the future with continued JV games or step back into a varsity schedule. Holmes would like to get back into varsity play, if the program is ready to make that step.
“I don’t know what the rules are with the league but for me what it comes down to is numbers and personnel,” says Holmes. “I don’t really know what I will see next year as far as who or what.”