Strong free-throw shooting in final quarter lifts Sailors past 'Dogs
The Palisade High School girls basketball team appeared to be in complete control midway through the fourth quarter. Then, the momentum changed.
Steamboat Springs used an 13-2 run to turn an eight-point deficit into a three-point lead and held on to take the Western Slope League game 46-45 on Friday night.
The game was close for most of the three quarters before the Bulldogs edged ahead in the fourth. Then, Palisade was hit with foul trouble.
Three of the four Brown sisters — Christa, Casey and Ashlyn — all fouled out for Palisade.
The Sailors took full advantage, hitting eight of 10 free throws in the last half of the fourth quarter.
Palisade coach Danielle Bagwell said the Bulldogs didn’t handle the foul trouble or the Sailors’ run very well.
“There was a momentum shift, and teams are going to make a run, and we have to adjust to that and not worry about everything else that’s going on,” she said.
With three minutes and 50 seconds to go, freshman Abby Thiessen made a layup to give the Bulldogs a 42-34 lead.
Then 6-foot-1 senior Maggie Crouch hit a layup and later grabbed an offensive rebound for another basket for the Sailors, cutting the lead to 42-40.
Steamboat Springs (6-2, 1-1 WSL) took the lead for good on a hard drive for a basket by Annie Osbourn, who was fouled. After she made the free throw, the Sailors had the lead at 43-42 with 1:33 to play.
A free throw by Gracey Higman cut the lead to 45-43 with 30 seconds to go, but the Sailors made another free throw, and Cruz Maestas hit a bucket in the final two seconds for Palisade.
After seven lead changes in the first quarter, the Bulldogs had a 14-13 lead and held a 22-20 advantage at the half.
A basket, then a pretty reverse layup by Casey Brown, who had seven points, started a 10-3 run to end the third quarter to put the Bulldogs up 34-29.
The first half of the fourth belonged to Palisade (6-2, 3-1 WSL). Two free throws by Jenna Brown and a baseline drive by Maestas, who then hit Jenna Brown with a perfect entry pass for another bucket, and the lead was 40-32.
The Sailors were launching 3-pointers for most of the night, with four players hitting a total of five, but none in the fourth quarter.
Head coach Mark Spitellie said it’s a good win for his team, especially because they had three seniors out.
“Being short-handed this week, the young ones really stepped up,” he said.
Bagwell also lamented Palisade’s poor free-throw shooting, as the Bulldogs made 14 of 28 from the line. The coach said rebounding from a difficult loss will be key for the Bulldogs.
“We just talked about having a short memory, and we have to come back and respond correctly,” Bagwell said.
Jenna Brown led the Bulldogs with 10 points, and Maestas had eight. Crouch led the Sailors with 12 points.