“Everyone settled down in the second half, so I was pleased with that”
By Than Acuff
While the team is young and they had just eight practices, the Crested Butte Titans girls basketball team overcame some nerves to rally to a 43-21 home win over the Telluride Miners on Friday, December 1.
“Starting off the year on a positive note,” says coach Anna Bressnick.
It was hard to know what Bressnick would have on the floor Friday night with just eight practices and a young team, many of whom were playing in their first varsity game.
“We were prepared but I don’t think you’re ever as prepared as you want to be,” says Bressnick.
While nerves did play a significant part in the Titans’ play through the first half, their defense did the job to keep the Miners off-balance and allow Crested Butte to build a three-point lead by the end of the first quarter and then add on to it to take an 18-13 lead into halftime. That, and the hot hand of Lexi Pickering, who knocked down four three-pointers in the first half alone.
“There were some nerves in the first half,” says Bressnick. “Our defense played really well on the ball.”
Bressnick took the halftime break to cover two main points with her team, the first of which was to calm down. The second point she shared with her players was to show more patience on offense.
“Our offense was working against the 2-3 zone but a lot of times we just make two passes and take the shot,” says Bressnick. “I told them to move the ball to one side, all the way to the other side and then back and we can get some great shots.”
The Titans heeded their coach’s words and came out of halftime to outscore Telluride 17-2 in the third quarter building a 35-15 lead heading into the fourth quarter. The Titans continued to dictate play in the fourth quarter and Bressnick turned to her bench to get players some varsity experience and closed with a 43-21 win. Pickering led the team with 19 points, Molly Miller scored nine and Annie Collins added in eight points.
Bressnick was happy with their individual effort on defense led by Miller and impressed by Pickering’s shooting from three-point range, but really attributed her team’s positive result to their response in the second half.
“Everyone settled down in the second half, so I was pleased with that,” says Bressnick.
There’s still plenty to work on and the team got right into one aspect of their game in workouts this week.
“I had not worked with them on transitions off of defensive rebounds and we had a couple of silly turnovers,” says Bressnick. “We got away with it in that game, but better teams can score a lot of points off those turnovers.”
The Titans head to Grand Junction this weekend to face Caprock Academy and Plateau Valley in a tournament. Bressnick sees it as an opportunity to continue working on additional aspects of their game.
“I saw some film on Caprock and they play man-to-man defense so we’re just working on man-to-man offensive sets and putting in some plays,” says Bressnick. “I think it’ll be a bigger test and we’ll see what we’re made of.”