Panthers make gains in Steamboat

Boys team bothered by press in defeats, but beats Green River

After a weekend that included two blowout losses and one blowout win, it’s apparent that the Montezuma-Cortez High School boys basketball team learns from their mistakes.



Opening the Steamboat Tournament on Dec. 12 against Steamboat Springs High School, the Panthers were bothered by a tough full-court press and a raucous crowd as they fell 56-41.

A defensive first quarter ended with the Panthers trailing 5-2, and they ran into trouble in the second frame, falling behind 23-8 at the half.

“The press started having an effect on us,” said assistant coach Dan Wood, who acted as head coach throughout the tournament. “(Steamboat) stole the ball quite a bit in the second quarter.”

Although the Panthers hung tough in the third and fourth quarters, the first-half deficit proved too much to overcome.

Leading the way for the Panthers against Steamboat were senior Brackin Whiteskunk (16 points) and junior Randy Haley (12 points).



Looking to rebound against Moffat County on Dec. 13, the Panthers were unable to deal with full-court pressure for the second consecutive game, turning the ball over multiple times in an 88-46 loss.

According to Wood, the Panthers were bothered by Moffat County’s guards, who forced 16 M-CHS turnovers in the first half.

“Sports teams can get into streaks,” said Wood. “They were in a positive streak, and we were in a negative streak. It was a good lesson for us.”

Pacing the Panthers’ offense against Moffat County, Whiteskunk scored nine points, and senior Conner McGhee registered seven.



Closing out the tournament on Dec. 14 against Green River, the Panthers sprinted to a 71-53 victory, utilizing a full-court press similar to the one used against them earlier in the tournament.

Keying the Panthers victory, junior Taylor Wilson scored a game-high 23 points and McGhee chipped in 21.

“He did a little bit of everything,” said Wood of McGhee’s play. “He started hitting some threes. He also attacked the hoop and had some lay-ins.”

Discussing the tournament as a whole, Wood stated that he was pleased with not only his team’s overall performance, but also his team’s ability to bounce back from defeat.

“The boys are fit and they have mental toughness,” said Wood. “They just need more experience.”