Two more games before the Holiday break
[ by Than Acuff ]
Despite continued struggles with illnesses and other priorities preventing full squad workouts, the Crested Butte Titans boys basketball team is grinding its way into the holiday break and won two of three games over the past week.
They opened the three-game stretch with a 52-47 win over the North Fork Miners on Tuesday, December 6. After building a 24-17 lead in the first half, the Titans struggled in the third quarter scoring just two points to fall behind 31-26.
“We came out of the half unfocused and had a lot of unforced turnovers,” says coach Hannes Gehring. “We weren’t sprinting back in our transition defense and giving up easy baskets and they were jumping passing lanes a little more aggressively. But I think a big part of it was we tightened up.”
Rather than crumble though, the Titans turned things around as Gehring switched into a press looking to slow North Fork after their big third quarter.
“We went into a press that we haven’t worked much on, but we didn’t have a choice,” says Gehring. “We had to change something.”
The press helped turned the tide in the Titans’ favor as they picked up points off of the pressure to score 26 points in the fourth quarter for the comeback win. Riley Davis led the team with 16 points followed by Kasen Cox with 12.
“I credit the kids for their response,” says Gehring. “After giving up a 16-0 run most teams fall apart but they didn’t.”
The Titans headed to Grand Junction three days later for games against Plateau Valley and Caprock Academy. Plateau Valley is one of the stronger 1A teams in the state and sits at the top of their league standings. The Titans struggled against Plateau Valley falling behind 18-8 by the end of the first quarter and down 31-16 at the half and never managed to pull back into the game eventually falling 54-31. Cox finished the game with a team-leading 10 points.
“They were a lot longer than I expected them to be and the game was a really good example of a team that has spent a lot of time together in practices and games versus a team that hasn’t spent a lot of time together,” says Gehring. “Our sickness showed in that game as there was a general lack of energy on the court.”
Crested Butte returned to the floor on Saturday, December 10 to face Caprock and made the necessary mental switch to overcome their fatigue learning how to push through their lack of energy.
Crested Butte dominated most of the game to cruise to a 51-36 win with Weston Miller scoring 17 points, Eli Hulm 14 and Ben Barney dropping in 10 points.
“That game was a good example of the kids learning to push through,” says Gehring. “They played with more pep.”
The Titans return to workouts this week still depleted by a variety of issues then return to the road as they head to Simla on Friday, December 16 to face Soroco in the first game of the tournament. A win on Friday will then set them up to play Simla most likely on Saturday, December 17.
“I think we have a good chance against Soroco, Simla is currently ranked ninth in 2A,” says Gehring.
The Titans then head into a massive holiday break and with so many players still missing or planning on missing workouts, Gehring has decided to take time off over the two-week stretch.
“We just have so many kids that will be missing,” says Gehring.