Six-game winning streak
By Than Acuff
The Crested Butte boys basketball team continued their winning ways this past week taking down Monte Vista, the Sargent Farmers and the Trinidad Miners and are now 4-0 in league play, 9-2 overall.
They started the three-game stretch in Monte Vista on Tuesday, January 23, and after a tough first half falling behind 26-17, the Titans outscored Monte Vista 37-19 in the second half to come away with a 54-42 win.
“After the Monte Vista game we challenged the boys,” says coach Hannes Gehring. “We wanted to practice hard Wednesday and Thursday because we felt there was still more fitness to do, and they bought in and agreed.”
The Farmers are always a tough program in the Southern Peaks league and have a long history of success and came into the game with a 10-2 record. But the Titans have dominated the match up over the past four years and were in the midst of a four-game winning streak.
“It was one of those games we knew we had a chance to win but we knew it was going to be a battle,” says Gehring.
It didn’t come easy though as the Farmers caused some fits for the Titans. While Weston Miller led the charge for the Titans on offense, scoring seven of their 13 points and pulling down a couple big offensive rebounds, the Farmers closed the quarter with a 6-0 run to tie the game 13-13.
The Titans’ struggles continued at the start of the second quarter, but efforts from Riley Davis and Eli Hulm helped spark the Titans on offense. Meanwhile, the Titans team defense held Sargent to just four points the entire quarter and Crested Butte closed the first half with a 10-2 run to take a 23-17 lead into halftime.
In true team fashion, a style that has led the way for the Titans’ success thus far this season, Porter Donohue provided a spark at both ends of the court in the third quarter, but Sargent would not go lightly and every time the Titans looked to pull away, the Farmers would respond.
“Porter has just turned up the energy, especially defensively, the past several games,” says Gehring.
The Titans appeared to have finally worn down Sargent midway through the third quarter. Once Sargent pulled back to within two points, Adin Kurak went coast-to-coast for a layup and Davis stole the next Sargent pass and scored. Sargent called a timeout, but the pause did little to slow down the Titans as they closed the third quarter with another 10-2 scoring run highlighted by a block by Hulm and a three-pointer from Luke Jennings, and Crested Butte carried a 45-32 lead into the fourth quarter.
“That was a great response coming out of halftime,” says Gehring.
Miller and Davis then combined to score 11 of the Titans’ final 17 points, with Miller recording two more blocks in the process and Crested Butte closed out the 62-47 win. Miller led the team with 20 points, 12 rebounds and six assists while Davis scored 15, pulled down eight rebounds and recorded five steals. Four other Titans tacked on key points as well, providing threats from different parts of the court at key moments in the game.
“There’s definitely more than one player contributing,” says Gehring. “That’s what makes good teams great, positive stats from a lot of different players. It’s exciting to know you have a really well-rounded team.”
Crested Butte hit the road the next day for a five-hour drive to Trinidad and shook off the bus ride by the opening tip-off to cruise to a 61-27 win. Miller continued to put up impressive stats with 18 points, seven rebounds and five assists, Kurak scored 17 and dished out four assists and Davis scored 12 points with five rebounds and five steals.
“The kids made a point to come hard with energy and effort,” says Gehring.
The frantic schedule continues with three more games this week. After hosting Ouray, the Titans head out of town to face Sanford on Friday, February 2 and then return home to host Cotopaxi on Saturday at 5 p.m. in mighty Mt. Olympus.
“We have our work cut out for us,” says Gehring. “Ouray will be tough, and we’ve never won in Sanford and we’re both undefeated in league play. We’re excited about our chances, we’re playing really well.”