Lady Titans defend Mt. Olympus against Moffat attack

Reach district final four

The Crested Butte Lady Titans proved they can handle the pressure down the stretch Tuesday night at Mt. Olympus, holding off a pesky Moffat Cowboy team to win 49-45 and advance to the semifinals of the district tournament.
It could have easily gone the other way. In fact, more often than not it did go the other way during the regular season as the young team would lose their poise in the waning moments of games and end up on the losing end.
But now, with elimination just one loss away, the Lady Titans appear to have found what it takes when it matters.
The Lady Titans opened the game asleep but soon woke up midway through the first quarter to respond to Moffat’s pressure.
Senior Sydney Loyed, coming off a career-high 25 points in the game last week, capped a seven-point Lady Titans run at the end of the first quarter to lead Crested Butte to a 9-4 lead heading into the second quarter.
Junior Shannon Holleran swatted her second Moffat shot of the night to open the second quarter but the Cowboys rattled off the next six points to pull ahead 10-9.
Loyed cut off a Moffat pass and scored and junior Melissa Gibbens drained a turnaround jumper in the paint to put Crested Butte back on top 15-12.
The Lady Titans looked to build a more comfortable gap paced by Loyed, who hit three of five free throws in the final two minutes of the second quarter, but Moffat clawed its way back into the game tying it 18-18 by halftime.
The two teams traded off five point surges through the third quarter as Crested Butte would pull ahead and Moffat would keep reeling them back in.
Downtown Toni Brown drained a three-pointer midway through the third quarter to pull the Lady Titans ahead 29-23 but Moffat responded scoring six points in a row to tie the game once again.
Crested Butte pulled ahead when junior Karleigh Dean picked off a pass and drove to the basket for two with just over a minute left in the quarter, but Moffat closed the third with a three-point play to tie the game 35-35 heading into the fourth.
The Lady Titans were dealt a potentially back-breaking blow with four minutes left in the game when sophomore post player Sydney Jernigan fouled out.
But coach MaryMike Haley had Holleran matched up against Moffat’s leading scorer in the fourth quarter and she shut her down.
The Cowboy intensity started to rattle the young Lady Titan team but they persevered, hitting key free throws down the stretch to ice the 49-45 win.
“They played great defense and hit key shots down the stretch,” says Haley. “It took them a little while but they got it when they needed it. They’re like a cold engine. It takes a little while but once it gets started it’s a force.”
Holleran led the team with 12 points, Loyed and freshman Maddie Stichter scored 10 points and Brown added in nine points. Despite battling foul trouble all game Jernigan led the team with 11 rebounds.
The Lady Titans head to Alamosa on Friday for the district semi-final game against Creede. The semi-finals will be held at Centauri Middle School on Friday, February 26 at 3:35 p.m. Win or lose, the Lady Titans play again on Saturday at Alamosa High School.   

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