Titan boys basketball continues late season run

Five-game winning streak takes momentum into post season

[  by Than Acuff  ]

After a 65-58 overtime road win against the Custer County Bobcats on Friday, February 18, the Crested Butte Titans boys basketball team closed out regular season play cruising to a 65-22 win at home against the South Park Burros on Saturday, February 19. The Titans finished the regular season winning 10 of their last 12 games and are headed into the post season as the number two seed at districts. If the Titans finish top three at the district tournament, they advance to the regional tournament next week.

Custer County has always been a tough match up for the Titans and the latest showdown was no exception as Crested Butte walked into a packed gym Friday night. What transpired was everything a coach and team could ask for, especially with the post season on the near horizon.

“We knew they were a good team and it’s never easy to win at their place,” says coach Hannes Gehring. “We had our hands full from the get go. It was a barn-burner.”

The Titans spent most of the game keeping Custer County at bay in front of their raucous crowd. Struggles from the perimeter plagued Crested Butte for much of the first half but they remained on point in other key areas of the game and were down just 23-22 at halftime.

The Bobcats kept trying to put the game away, but the Titans had answers for everything Custer County threw at them. It wasn’t until the fourth quarter with three minutes left to play when Custer County had a six-point lead and looked to put the game away in front of their crowd.

At that point, the Titans broke into a press and both Erik Wasinger and Grayson White came up with big steals out of the press to set up baskets. Custer County did eventually break through the Titans’ press to score but Alan Prieto hit shots on the last two Titan possessions to send the game into overtime.

Gehring continued to lean on the bench for key minutes and the players answered the call. The final straw to break Custer County’s back came from Ben Barney who came onto the floor and hit two big free throws to build enough of a gap to finish off the win.

“As soon as he made those free throws it was a two-possession game and I felt like we had the game,” says Gehring. “

Wasinger finished the game with 22 points and five steals, Prieto played all 36 minutes to rack up 15 points and eight rebounds while White’s late game effort helped lead the Titans to the win as he finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

“That’s an invaluable experience as you go into the playoffs,” says Gehring.

Saturday’s game at home against South Park was mostly a senior showcase for the crowd in Mt. Olympus. Gehring used the opportunity to get his six seniors a majority of the playing time and they all put on a show led by Wasinger who had a two-handed slam, a tip in and a massive block off the glass. Wasinger finished with 28 points, Prieto scored 14, White nine, Harper Johnson had a block and seven points, Porter Washburn dropped in five points and Ethan VanMarter proved essential at both ends of the court.

“Nothing better than to have all six seniors shine on Senior Night,” says Gehring. “It was a fun game, but I prefer the one-point games.”

The Titans enter the district tournament the number two seed and look to advance on to the regional tournament next week.

“We’re in a good spot,” says Gehring. 

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