Titan girls win two of three over past week

“We did some things really well”

[  by Than Acuff  ]

It’s fast and furious for the Crested Butte Titans girls basketball team winning two of three games over five days. It all started with a gritty 56-50 win against Centennial on Tuesday, January 31 to build additional momentum heading into their big showdown with the Sanford Mustangs and confidence was high when the Titans hosted them on Friday, February 3. Unfortunately, hopes of taking down the 2A powerhouse were thwarted by the overpowering Mustangs team as the Titans fell 50-35. The Titans rebounded the next day though to coast to a 41-18 win over the Cotopaxi Pirates. Their record now stands at 10-4, 3-1 in league play.

Crested Butte and Centennial would prove to be a serious battle ultimately decided by a strong fourth quarter surge to decide the game.

Crested Butte built a 23-15 lead by the close of the first quarter, but Centennial fought back to outscore Crested Butte 17-10 in the second quarter to make it a one-point game at halftime.

“It was one of the most fun first halves, both teams were shooting well,” says coach Amanda Reynolds.

The teams continued to trade blows through the third quarter but adjustments by Crested Butte started to pay off and the Titans sealed the 56-50 win with their effort in the fourth quarter. 

“We switched up our defense and put Leigh on their top scorer and Leigh basically shut her down,” says Reynolds. “And our guards were able to get rebounds which set us up for faster transitions.”

Blakeley Reynolds led the Titans with 21 points, Leigh Harpel scored 11 points and pulled down nine rebounds, Lexi Pickering scored 10 points and Ellie Duryea scored six points and pulled down eight boards.

The Titans then turned their attention to the Sanford Mustangs on Friday, February 3. Sanford is a basketball town with both the boys and girls teams seeing massive success in 2A basketball over the years. In fact, the Titans fell to Sanford by close to 40 points both times they played them last year.

After the first quarter, it looked like Sanford would hand Crested Butte another drubbing as they opened up an 18-1 lead on the Titans in the first quarter paced by a stifling defense and proficiency both inside the paint and from behind the three-point arc.

“Because we’re still relatively new to being competitive in our league, we tend to revert back to playing not to lose,” explains Amanda. “And we didn’t play defense.”

Crested Butte shook off the initial shock to open the second quarter much better. Baskets from Molly Miller, Blakeley, Mara Pennie showed what the Titans are capable of when they believe. But Sanford soon recovered from the initial Titan attack to close the half with a 9-1 run for a 30-11 lead at halftime.

The Titans continued to battle in the second half to keep Sanford from running away with the game completely. Harpel knocked down two short range jumpers to open the half and she and Blakeley continued to score throughout the second half with Annie Collins and Duryea crashing the boards to create additional second chances, but the Sanford advantage proved insurmountable as they handed the Titans a 50-35 loss. Blakeley finished with 15 points, Harpel had nine rebounds and six steals and Duryea grabbed six rebounds.

“We did some things really well,” says Amanda. “We just can’t have 29 turnovers in a game and win against a good team. We just need to be more consistent and play two good halves.”

Crested Butte finished off the three-game ride with a 41-18 win over Cotopaxi, but it took some work to get there. After a stagnant first half in which the Titans built a slight 14-9 lead, Crested Butte took off in the second half to outscore Cotopaxi 27-9 to run away with the win.

“We adjusted our game on the fly and put a lot of points on the board in the second half because of two small adjustments,” says Amanda.

Blakeley recorded a double-double with 23 points and 10 rebounds, Molly Miller scored 10 points while Collins led the team with 11 rebounds. In fact, the Titans outrebounded each opponent throughout the five-day stretch.

“That is making a huge difference in our game,” says Amanda. 

The Titans have three more games in five days as they face Ridgway, Del Norte and then host Monte Vista on Saturday, February 11, tip off at 12:30 p.m.

“They’re getting better every single practice and I have faith that no matter who’s out on the floor in games, we’re able to compete,” says Amanda.

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