“I feel very confident we’ll come out and give all that we have”
[ by Than Acuff ]
The Crested Butte Titans girls’ basketball team met their toughest opponents of the year this past week, falling to both Sargent and Sanford. In addition, the Titans roster was somewhat depleted as the February break and some lingering injuries took its toll on the team.
“Both of those teams are really strong programs and we knew that week was going to be difficult,” says head coach Amanda Reynolds. “And, we don’t have the numbers to get away with missing players.”
Crested Butte headed to face the Sargent Farmers down more players than usual leaving Reynolds to make shifts on the court and calling on players to step into new roles including a freshman and two players relatively new to basketball to take on starting roles.
“We work on things in practice and they’re used to a certain style of basketball so it’s hard for them to step in and translate that to game speed,” says Reynolds.
The Farmers jumped out on the Titans early and then clamped down to frustrate Crested Butte’s offense. They carried that pace through all four quarters to eventually hand the Titans a 49-19 loss.
“We have two players that produce 80-90 percent of our scoring and you can’t have that and be successful,” says Reynolds. “It doesn’t have to be that way so we’re working on diversifying on offense and helping them realize where other players can score baskets.”
More players started to trickle back into the rotation as they turned their attention to the Sanford game on Friday, February 19.
“I had Sanford picked at the start of the season as the number one team in the state and we knew what we were in for,” says Reynolds.
With that in mind, Reynolds had her players focus more on their game rather than trying to adjust to meet Sanford’s game.
“They’re a hard team to score on period,” says Reynolds. “I had the girls focus on our game.”
Sanford did what Sanford does while Crested Butte showed some glimpses of their potential throughout the game. Quality passing set up Hayes Freeman for a nice six-foot jumper and Ellie Duryea got the ball inside and spun past her defender to score and Colleen Harris finished off a three-point play in the first quarter.
The Farmers continued to show what a top 2A team looks like but the Titans stayed the course as best they could calming things down on offense to set up another basket from Harris and one from Sophia Truex in the paint. The team got a push from Harris when she stripped the ball of a Sanford player in the waning moments of the first half to get a layup with four seconds left. Unfortunately, Sanford showed why they are one of the best teams in the state as a quick inbounds pass following Harris’ bucket resulted in a buzzer beating half court heave.
Crested Butte continued to show grit and determination throughout the second half no matter the score, even diving for loose balls despite the massive deficit, but eventually fell 74-24.
“I don’t focus on the score in a game like that,” says Reynolds. “I focus on who we are and what each player and the team can accomplish. They don’t give up and they dig deep.”
And while a five-game skid can crush a team’s spirit, the Titans look to continue their progression each and every practice. That alone has Reynolds optimistic about the rest of the season.
“The very next practice they were right there and ready to learn again and that’s special,” says Reynolds. “I really do feel the second half of the season is going to show their determination and their hard work.”
They kick off the second half of the season this week with three games including one on the road Friday, February 26 against Del Norte and Saturday, February 27 against Monte Vista.
“I feel very confident we’ll come out and give all that we have,” says Reynolds. “I expect to see a lot of fire in their play. I’m just waiting for all of the pieces to click.”
You can catch Titans basketball live online on the Crested Butte Titans Athletics Facebook page.