“I told them, just don’t quit, and they didn’t”
By Than Acuff
After closing out a tight road win last week, the Crested Butte Titans girls basketball team fell to the Sanford Mustangs, in Sanford, on Friday, February 2, and then fell short on their comeback bid against the Cotopaxi Pirates on Monday, February 5.
Sanford has a long history of success in basketball with their gym walls covered in banners touting the program’s success, and Titans coach Anna Bressnick knew they were in for a potentially long night.
“They’re going to need a new gym before too long for all of their banners,” says Bressnick. “We were expecting a really tough game, but I just told them to keep the game competitive and play our game.”
The Titans did just that as they managed to get into their offense early to set up quality looks at the basket. Meanwhile, they remained tough on defense to keep the game from getting away.
“We got into our offensive sets and it looked good,” says Bressnick. “We were able to get into a flow early in the game which has been a struggle for us.”
But Sanford is Sanford and they slowly but surely pulled away as the game continued, eventually finishing with a 46-23 win. Annie Collins led the Titans on offense getting several looks inside.
“She had her best game offensively and played fundamentally sound in the paint for us,” says Bressnick. “Our main goal was to stay competitive, and I think we did.”
The Titans returned home to host the Cotopaxi Pirates on Monday, February 5, and while they had a strong start against Sanford two days prior, they came out slow against Cotopaxi.
Part of the problem was Cotopaxi’s defense. Fierce and aggressive, the Pirates caused the Titans players fits early and often. Crested Butte still scored six points and were down just four points by the end of the first quarter, but took a hit as Molly Miller picked up three fouls and had to sit.
“That was not ideal for us,” says Bressnick. “They ran a jump defense at us that we couldn’t figure out on the floor. We let it bother us.”
With Miller out, the Titans continued to struggle as the Pirates outscored Crested Butte 10-1 in the second quarter to build a 13-point lead by halftime.
“We just kept going to the drawing board to help the girls break the pressure,” says Bressnick. “Sometimes it just doesn’t click with everyone all of the time.”
Eventually it did though. Bressnick has insisted that her players never give up and it would have been easy given how frustrating the second quarter was, but they didn’t. They started with their defense and had three stops in a row to open the third quarter. Cotopaxi started scoring again to build a 17-point lead by the start of the fourth quarter, but the Titans battled back sparked by two three-pointers from Lexi Pickering. Miller and Collins knocked down free throws and additional baskets and the Titans were climbing back into the game before they ran out of time, eventually falling 39-30 to the Pirates.
“I told them, just don’t quit, and they didn’t,” says Bressnick. “I was proud of them.”
They hit the road again this week but will be back in mighty Mt. Olympus to host Del Norte on Friday, February 9 at 5:30 p.m.