“We’re in a really good place”
[ by Than Acuff ]
Despite the team being whittled down to just six players off and on throughout the season last year, the Crested Butte Titans girls’ basketball team finished out strong with a win over South Park and a district win over Trinidad before falling to 2A powerhouse Sanford in the second round of the district tournament. And while the team lost seniors to graduation from that team, none of those seniors were on the floor during that final stretch last year and coach Amanda Reynolds can already see the benefits of that during preseason workouts this year.
“We’re not starting with learning, we’re building,” says Reynolds. “That core group of juniors and sophomores from last year are helping us be where we are right now. Our team’s growth on the court is showing now.”
In addition, the team’s commitment started even before the official November 14 start date as Reynolds saw her team pouring in for open gym time as well.
“I had most of our team there for open gyms that were completely voluntary,” says Reynolds.
Reynolds is joined by husband Tyler Reynolds on the coaching staff and this year the team has 17 players with five seniors, three of whom were pivotal players last year, a host of juniors, some sophomores and eight freshmen.
“I’ve never seen this large of a freshmen class and they’re all bought in,” says Reynolds.
With some big steps taken last year to rebuild the program, Reynolds is expecting continued growth this year.
“We’re able to do a whole lot more now,” says Reynolds. “We have more speed, more rebounders, more shooters and some real playmakers which will allow us more flex within our offense.”
All of this growth has both Reynolds and the team excited about their potential heading into the 2022-2023 season.
“It is going to take a minute to figure out roles, but I know there are strong whispers about winning league among the players and it’s good to have high expectations like that,” says Reynolds. “It will be a huge undertaking but there’s no reason we can’t compete in our league.”
The Titans’ progress was somewhat interrupted by the Thanksgiving break, but they return to consistent practices next week as they prepare for their first game of the season on the road on Friday, December 2 against Telluride. After that they head to Grand Junction for the same tournament they struggled in last year. But, based on what Reynolds is seeing, the tournament this year should be a vastly different experience.
“We were a deer in the headlights last year and we’re getting a game in before that tournament this year,” says Reynolds. “Stuff I was doing in the 15th practice last year I’m already doing in the fifth practice this year. We’re in a really good place.”