“They all really play well together and vibe well together”
by Than Acuff
After a couple of rough games against their JV opponents from Del Norte and Sanford, the Crested Butte Titan girls basketball team recovered this past weekend to rattle off two wins at home over Custer County and Center’s JV squads.
The experiment with a JV schedule continues to bear fruit for the Titans as they have shown remarkable improvement on both the individual and team levels. While Blakely Reynolds has been the mainstay for scoring among the Titans, every Titan has jumped into the fray both on offense and defense and that shone through in their game against Custer County on Friday, February 14.
“Blakely is a central piece as far as points go but we’ve seen other teammates step up,” says coach Vaden Holmes. “They all really play well together and vibe well together.”
Defense carried the weight for the Titans in the first quarter as their offense struggled to find any cohesion. Alex Downey and Ellie Duryea did each knock down shots but other attempts missed the mark and Custer County stepped out in front 8-6 by the end of the first quarter.
The Titans opened the second quarter with a flash of their potential when Sophia Truex found Mara Pennie cutting back door with a pass and Pennie laid it in but Custer County scored the next six points to go up 14-8. A 10-foot jumper and three pointer from Truex and an offensive rebound and basket from Duryea got the Titans back on track though and Lhotse Wychoff closed the first half with a three pointer tying the game 18-18 by halftime.
Reynolds, Truex and Downey continued to produce on offense but Custer County had an answer for every Titan basket until Downey closed the third with a 12-foot jumper for a 31-30 Titans’ lead.
Crested Butte then took things over in the fourth with their defense holding Custer County to seven points while Pennie battled in the paint and Downey cut loose pulling down rebounds and scoring points to help pace the Titans to the 44-38 win. Downey led the Titans with 16 points, Reynolds scored 10 while Truex added in seven points.
Crested Butte stayed at home to host the Center Vikings on Saturday, February 15 and came out a little sluggish after their battle with Custer County the night before. While they opened with the first two baskets and Naomi Bilow knocked down a three pointer, Center rallied back to tie the game. Foul trouble then hit the Titans in the second quarter and center slowly carried the momentum to build a 20-17 lead by the half.
“I felt we were slow moving on offense and we were playing aggressive on defense but got into foul trouble and things got chaotic,” says Holmes.
Those same issues carried over into the third quarter. While Kate Sherman did pull down an offensive rebound to score and Reynolds hit two free throws, turnovers and impatience on offense by Crested Butte helped Center take a 26-21 lead into the fourth quarter.
But, Crested Butte buckled down to mount a comeback in the fourth. Truex started it off with a steal and a layup and Reynolds caught fire to score 13 points in the fourth quarter alone as Crested Butte pulled away for the 37-29 win. Reynolds finished the game with 30 points.
“We were losing and we only had eight minutes to win or lose and that was the sole incentive,” says Holmes. “For some reason we waited until then to do it.”
The girls finish their season at home on Saturday, February 22 when they host Sargent at 1 p.m.