Enter as 23rd seed
[ by Than Acuff ]
After falling in the opening round of their 3A district tournament, the Crested Butte Titans girls basketball team won the next game and are headed to the first round of the 3A state tournament, technically the regional tournament, on Friday, March 3 as the 23rd seed. It’s their first trip to the regional tournament since the 2009-2010 season.
It’s a tough road in the post season for the Titans. Due to restructuring by the state athletics governing board, Crested Butte, a 2A school by size, was one of several smaller programs bumped into the 3A class for the post season prior to the start of the year.
Despite the situation, hopes were high, but tempered, when the Titans hit the road for the 3A district tournament in Ignacio Friday and Saturday, February 24-25. While they were coming off their most successful season in a long time, the Titans would be missing one of their starters and a key defender for the weekend.
To make matters tougher, the Titans also sputtered through the first half as they were unable to generate much in the way of offense.
“We started out really, really slow,” says coach Amanda Reynolds.
The Titans recovered enough in the second half to play even with Ignacio but the hole from the first half was too deep to climb out of as they fell 52-26. Blakeley Reynolds led the Titans’ scoring with 11 points, Ellie Duryea scored six points and grabbed eight rebounds and Annie Collins tallied 12 rebounds.
“They just had a lot of different ways to score,” says Amanda. “We needed to our other defender and to get our scoring going earlier.”
The Titans weren’t done though as they had to face Montezuma-Cortez in their next district game on Saturday, February 25, a team they lost to by 30 points just last year. A loss would most likely mean an end to their season, while a win could push them onto the state tournament.
With their backs against the wall, the Titans opened the game charging to build an 11-2 lead in the first quarter but soon cooled off and allowed Montezuma-Cortez to climb back into the game. Crested Butte finally connected for four points just before halftime to take a 15-11 lead into the break.
Some words from coach reminding the team they needed to do their jobs, and do them better, sparked the Titans to a stronger second half. They opened it back in control outscoring Montezuma 12-3 in the third quarter and kept pouring it on to cruise to a 45-19 win.
“When we came out in the second half we didn’t stop,” says Amanda. “We did things at both ends of the court and I was able to get the entire team on the court in the game. Our success came from rebounding and our ability to get to the basket.”
Blakeley led all scorers with 23 points adding in six rebounds and four assists. Duryea scored seven points and grabbed 15 rebounds and Collins joined her on the boards for eight rebounds as the Titans outrebounded Montezuma-Cortez 55-45 in the game.
The Titans post season run continues as they earned the 23rd seed in the 3A state tournament. They open with Highland on Friday, March 3 at St. Mary’s school in Colorado Springs, tip-off is at 7 p.m.
“They have two potent three-point threats, they’re just a different level of athlete,” says Amanda. “But we’ll do everything to battle, and we’ll have everyone back.”
A win there will send Crested Butte to the next round on Saturday, March 4 where they will face the winner of the Gunnison/St. Mary’s game.