Titans girls hoops takes one of three over past week

“It was a long week but a lot of silver linings”

By Than Acuff 

The Crested Butte Titans girls basketball team jumped into the thick of league play this past week and came away with one win out of three games.

It all started on Tuesday, January 23, when they hit the road to face the Monte Vista Pirates, a team that came into the game against Crested Butte 7-1 and on a four-game winning streak.

The Pirates maintained their winning ways against the Titans as they took an early lead and carried their momentum through the rest of the game to take down the Titans 44-26.

“The main thing from that game was that our defensive effort was solid, much higher level than we’ve seen all season,” says coach Anna Bressnick.

The Titans went from the frying pan and into the fire on Friday, January 26, when they returned to Crested Butte to host the Sargent Farmers. The Farmers are sitting in the top of the league standings along with Monte Vista but with more impressive statistics from game to game.

They showed how they’ve seen such success thus far as they threw a full court press at the Titans to open the game. Crested Butte found some success breaking the press to set up Lexi Pickering for a layup and got their chances to score when they set up their offense but shots in close missed the mark. Meanwhile, the Farmers found enough success on offense to build a 13-2 lead by the end of the first quarter.

“We’ve seen the press enough now that it’s not so panic inducing,” says Bressnick. “We were able to handle the press and we got some looks inside that just didn’t fall. We make those and make a couple of stops and it’s a close game.”

The Farmers continued their scoring ways in the second quarter to put up 18 points, including a series of three-pointers at the end, but the Titans continued to show positive signs at one end of the court while they struggled at the other.

The Titans came out in the second half and put up eight points in an assortment of ways. Molly Miller scored off their inbounds play to kick it off, both Annie Collins and Pickering scored when the Titans set up their offense and Grace Bogard scored when Crested Butte broke the Farmer press again, but Sargent had a response for each basket. Miller closed the third quarter with six points, but Sargent remained in control and carried it through the fourth quarter to win 58-29. Miller led the team with 11 points while Collins and Pickering each scored eight.

“When we got set up and ran our offense, we looked like a stellar team,” says Bressnick. “Our defensive effort just wasn’t quite as good as it has been. If we can clean up some things, watch backdoor cuts and score when we get our chances, we’re in games. We just have to clean up the little things.”

As a testament to the Titans’ resiliency though, they boarded the bus the next day to drive five hours to Trinidad only to find themselves in a back-and-forth battle, yet emerged with a 37-34 win.

“It was a pretty tight game the whole way through,” says Bressnick.

Crested Butte and Trinidad traded baskets throughout the first half, but the Titans defense kept Trinidad off balance to limit their opportunities.

“Our defensive rotation looked really good and really clean,” says Bressnick. “It was a good example of when we got to make the other team panic.”

The only glitch came at the end of the first half when the Titans lost focus on Trinidad’s final possession and let them score an easy basket at the buzzer.

“I got on them after that,” says Bressnick. “Play until after the buzzer.”

As it turned out, those words of maintaining focus for an entire game played out in the Titans’ favor. As the second half wore on, both teams could not pull away and Trinidad hit a three-pointer with 30 seconds left to pull within one. They proceeded to foul Miller sending her to the line and Miller hit both free throws and the Titans defense did the rest to seal the 37-34 win.

“We finished the game strong, it felt good to be in a close game,” says Bressnick. “It was a long week but there were a lot of silver linings.”

The Titans’ next home game will be on Saturday, February 3, when they host Cotopaxi—tip off for varsity is at 3:30 p.m.

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