The Yampa Valley’s top 10 games of the year
1. Steamboat boys lacrosse 10, Cheyenne Mountain 9
Playing in the state quarterfinals, the two teams went back and forth with Steamboat narrowly holding on. The win put Steamboat in the Final Four for the first time in school history. Steamboat, which had beaten Cheyenne Mountain earlier in the year, proved it belonged among Class 4A’s elite.
2. Steamboat football 21, Lutheran 20
Trailing by a point with less than two minutes left and with an extra point opportunity, Steamboat Springs football coach Lonn Clementson decided to go for two. Steamboat lined up in an extra-point formation, snapped the ball, and holder Christian Ramirez pitched it over his left shoulder to Skyler Kauf, who had come around from the left side of the line. Kauf rolled around to the right on a run-pass option and found Mitch McCannon for a two-point conversion and a 21-20 win.
3. Soroco boys basketball, 71, Paonia, 70
Matt Regan drilled a 3-point shot with four seconds remaining to hand the Rams a huge win against Paonia. The win was Soroco’s fifth in a row and perhaps the most exciting game in Oak Creek this season. The Rams trailed by five with 17 seconds remaining but came back for the victory.
4. Moffat County boys basketball 54, Roaring Fork 59
Playing for the third time, this time for the district championship, this game had it all. Three technical fouls in the first half, back-and-forth, fast-paced play and a game-tying 3 from Moffat County’s Tyler Davis with 11 seconds left waved off because the official said it hit the basket brace on a high bounce off the rim. The Rams had Moffat County’s number this season, winning all three meetings by a total of 11 points, but both teams would bow out of the state tournament in the round of 16 a week later.
5. Steamboat girls basketball 32, Green Mountain 30
The win marked Steamboat’s first state playoff victory in more than a decade. Steamboat made 1 of 2 free throws in the final minute, while Green Mountain couldn’t convert two 1-and-1 chances. The 11th-seeded Sailors walked away with an upset of the sixth-seeded Rams.
6. Hayden boys basketball 54, Meeker 51
The win gave the Tigers a District tournament championship. Hayden led most of the game and used four Mark Doolin free throws down the stretch to seal the win. It also set the team up for a run at the regional tournament.
7. Moffat County girls basketball 39, Roaring Fork 38
Roaring Fork was responsible for the Bulldogs’ only conference loss last season, but Moffat County avenged that with a 56-34 win at home in the rematch. When the two met in the district semifinals, the Rams came out with a tough defensive game plan. They packed the middle and kept Moffat County from getting baskets inside and led by four late in the game. But the Bulldogs withstood the late-game pressure, and Kori Finneman’s consecutive baskets in the final minute gave Moffat the lead for good.
8. Akron 44, Hayden football 28
In a back-and-forth game, Hayden, the No. 14 seed in the 8-man playoffs, couldn’t quite keep up with third-seeded Akron. The two teams seemingly traded drive after drive, Hayden once trailing just 16-14, before Akron opened things up in the second half.
9. Soroco girls basketball 55, West Grand 47
It wasn’t the Mustangs’ strongest season, but Routt County squads never get tired of winning in Kremmling, where rivalry always manages to keep things interesting. Briana Peterson led Soroco with 14 points. Soroco went on to its best regular season in 15 years.
10. Moffat County girls soccer 1, Aspen 1
Needing a tie or win in order to stay ahead of Aspen in the Western Slope League playoff standings, the Bulldogs fell behind early in their home game against the Skiers but battled back. Jazmine Swindler’s goal midway through the second half tied the game and set the stage for a tense final 20 minutes. Allie Ehlers ripped a shot off the crossbar, and two minutes later the Skiers almost squeezed a shot past goalie Skylar Tripp. The teams played two scoreless overtimes, as well, and the Bulldogs got the result they needed.
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