Crested Butte boys basketball falls to Cotopaxi and Ignacio

“Playing top competition early on is invaluable”

[ by Than Acuff ]

After winning their first game of the season, the Crested Butte Titans boys basketball team is still looking for their second win of the season.

It’s been a tough three-game stretch for the Titans as they lost starting senior Grayson White to injury and fell three points shy on two occasions of securing their second win.

The team headed to Cotopaxi on Tuesday, December 7 with players asked to step into new roles to make up for the loss of White. Add in that Cotopaxi had a raucous crowd behind them and it was going to be a tough night for the Titans.

“It was hostile and made for a really fun and rowdy environment,” says coach Hannes Gehring. “It was probably a bit of a shock to the system for our boys. There were no crowds at the games last year because of COVID and not much at our first couple of games this year.”
Crested Butte handled the initial pressure jumping out to a 14-8 lead in the first quarter but foul trouble crept up on the Titans forcing the coaches to make additional adjustments on the fly asking more players to jump into action.

Cotopaxi climbed back into the game in the second quarter to take a one point lead into halftime and the teams battled back and forth through the second half before Cotopaxi edged out a 50-47 win. Alan Prieto led the Titans with 19 points, Erik Wasinger dropped in 13 and Ben Barney added in 11 points on the night.

“We had some tight calls against us and Erik was in foul trouble most of the game,” says Gehring. “Not having him on the court as much impacted us. We battled but our inexperience did show a little and we just don’t have a lot of guys who have been on the varsity court a lot.”

Four days later the Titans returned to the road heading southwest to face the Ignacio Bobcats. Ignacio made a strong post season run last year and are back at near full strength again this season making for another stout non-league opponent for Crested Butte.

Remarkably, without White and Wasinger, the Titans came out fast and furious in the first quarter led by Prieto. While Ignacio has arguably one of the best players in the state on their roster, Prieto stole the show at the start and the Titans were in the mix through the first half.

“Alan was unstoppable in the first half,” says Gehring. “They really didn’t have an answer for him.”

Ignacio made some adjustments at halftime and proceeded to pull away from the Titans through the third and fourth quarter to finish with a 49-27 win over Crested Butte. Prieto led the Titans again with 12 points.

“Despite getting thumped there were a lot more positives out of that game than any of our other losses,” says Gehring. “A lot of the kids are just getting better every game. We have a bunch of talent that just hasn’t had a lot of experience at the varsity level.”

This next week gets even harder for the Titans. While they will get Wasinger back, they have two more non-league games on the road against some strong 3A programs in Alamosa and Centauri on Friday and Saturday, December 17-18.

“It’s good prep for league play, they will both be difficult challenges to face,” says Gehring. “Playing top competition early on is invaluable. It’s a long season and we just want to make sure we’re peaking in February and heading into the post season.”

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