Steamboat Springs Some things may have changed around the program, but the philosophy and foundation of the Steamboat Springs High School boys basketball team still revolves around defense.
It was never more evident than in Tuesday's matchup against rival Moffat County.
Steamboat's defense bothered Moffat County all night, and the Sailors ran away with a 44-32 win in Kelly Meek Gymnasium. The win kept Steamboat at the top of the Western Slope League standings.
Steamboat held Moffat County to 25 percent (11-of-44) shooting from the field and limited the Bulldogs' leading scorer Chayton Owens to 8 points - almost 14 points below his season average.
"It was huge for us," first-year Steamboat coach Luke DeWolfe said. "We've built this foundation all year with our defense. The kids understand, and it's been a hallmark here for years that everything starts with defense. Our kids have bought into that, and it shows."
After a back-and-forth first quarter with Steamboat taking a 12-9 lead, the Sailors began to take over the game.
Steamboat limited to Moffat County to one field goal and five point in the second quarter to take a 25-14 lead into halftime.
The third quarter saw much of the same, with Steamboat extending its lead to 33-20 heading into the fourth quarter.
After Alex Wood hit 1 of 2 free throws with 4:13 remaining in the game to give Steamboat a 40-24 advantage, Moffat County showed some signs of life.
It started when Dylon Camilletti stole a pass and went end-to-end for a layup.
Thomas Noble then hit a deep 3-pointer to cut the Steamboat lead to 40-29 with 2:55 remaining. From there, the Sailors played keep-away and sealed the win at the free-throw line.
"Every single game, we've just gotten better," DeWolfe said. "That's been true all year long. We've matured, we understand the game better and are becoming more and more savvy about the mental aspects. We're understanding individual players and what other teams are trying to do against us."
Jack Spady led Steamboat with 17 points. Alex and Charles Wood each chipped in 11. Owens and Noble each scored 8 for Moffat County, while Mike Peters added 7 points.
With the Western Slope League schedule at its halfway point, Steamboat sits on top with a 10-5 overall record and 7-0 record in league play. Moffat County drops to 9-7 overall and 5-2 in league play.
Steamboat next plays at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Eagle Valley.