Lady Titans’ post-season run ends at regionals in Gunnison

“I was proud of them for making it as far as they did”

The post season got off to a rocky start for the Crested Butte Lady Titans, dropping the first district tournament game to Creede on Friday, February 26, 47-40.
“It was a tough one,” admits coach MaryMike Haley.
The Lady Titans came out slow falling behind 22-17 by the half.
Crested Butte played even with Creede through the third quarter to hold them to a five-point lead as sophomore Sydney Jernigan was on her way to a career game with 14 points.
But Jernigan fouled out in the fourth quarter, and when the Lady Titans put Creede on the line to force them to win it with free throws, they did to seal the win.
Senior Sydney Loyed scored 10 points in the game and junior Shannon Holleran and Karleigh Dean added seven and six points respectively.
The loss left the Lady Titans in a one-and-done situation. A loss Saturday morning would mean the end of the season. A win would advance Crested Butte to the regional tournament.
The Lady Titans suited up for their game Saturday morning against Mountain Valley determined to continue their post season run.
“They were awake, ready and they wanted to move on,”
 says Haley.
Led by Jernigan with 13 points and a stout combination of sophomore Toni Brown and freshman Maddie Stichter at point guard, the Lady Titans rolled to a 40-30 win over Mountain Valley.
“They played great defense and their transition game was good,” says Haley.
The win sent the Lady Titans to a regional match up against the Dove Creek Bulldogs on Tuesday, March 2 at Western State College gymnasium.
The Lady Titans carried their defensive effort from the Mountain Valley game into the match up with Dove Creek. Unfortunately, their offense stalled for all four quarters.
Crested Butte dug themselves into a hole in the first quarter falling behind 13-5.
Despite their defensive work, the Lady Titans just couldn’t get going on offense. They continued to force turnovers by the Bulldogs but would then turn around and give the ball back.
“Our defense was good, we just could not execute offensively,” says Haley. “They were turning the ball over but we just couldn’t capitalize on it.”
Dean closed the first half with a huge block and the hope was that the Lady Titans could rally off that in the third quarter, but that was just hope.
The Lady Titans’ offense continued to struggle at the start of the second half until Dean broke the scoring drought, draining a 14-foot jumper, but the Bulldogs responded with a three-pointer.
Stichter stole the ball on Dove Creek’s next possession and scored, and junior Melissa Gibbens hit one of two free throws to hint at a comeback but the Bulldogs closed the third quarter with a basket at the buzzer to maintain a 14-point lead.
Loyed hit an eight-foot jumper at the start of the fourth quarter and with the Lady Titans defense still relatively intact they seemed primed for a miraculous fourth-quarter rally.
Dove Creek dashed those hopes for good with back-to-back three-pointers. Ashlee Riemer came off the bench to hit a three-pointer, but the damage was done and Dove Creek closed the game with a series of baskets inside for the 47-26 win.
Jernigan led the team again with 10 points and Loyed closed her high school career with six points.
“We just couldn’t get it rolling on offense,” says Haley.
The team finished the season 13-8 and as far as Haley’s concerned, took the season farther than was expected of the young squad.
“I think it’s a big deal to make it to regionals,” says Haley. “They have all the ability in the world and as soon as they recognize that, they’ll be a force.”


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