‘C’ teams conclude developmental seasons

GHS boys & girls C team basketball — As members of the Gunnison High School (GHS) boys and girls “C” basketball team took the court for their final games of the season on Tuesday — against Crested Butte High School — it was clear they had come a long way from the first day of practice back in November.

The boys ended the season with a 37-26 victory over the Titans, while the girls battled until the end, falling 43-15.

Linus Dolan led the way for the boys with 11 points, while Lorena Diaz, Jordan Krueger and Elaina Dillard each recorded four points for the girls.

“From the first practice to last practice I've just seen a lot of growth, from all of our guys from top to bottom,” head coach Tanner Stillwell said of the boys C team. “I had guys who couldn’t two ball dribble at the start of the season, now handling the rock.”

Tom Kattnig, head coach of the girls C team, has noticed similar growth in his players during the course of the season.

“They have come so far,” Kattnig said. “Their ball handling skills are better, shooting skills are coming and they have stepped up huge defensively.”

Improved defense was evident when the GHS girls took on Delta the second time around on Friday Jan. 31, losing to them by eight points — after losing the first time on Friday, Dec. 6, by 40 points.

While wins and losses aren’t important at the C team level, it’s a nice confidence booster for coaches and players when things start to click.

That happened recently for the boys. On Monday, Feb. 3, they came away with a hard fought and close 18-16 victory, thanks to Gabriel Rosas, who hit a huge basket to give the Cowboys the lead and the spark they needed to finish the game.

“Growth throughout the season is always a favorite thing for me to see and seeing players come together,” said Stillwell. “But that moment is one that will definitely stick in my memory from this season.”

The girls also had a similar moment this season. What made it special wasn’t just getting the win, but the support they had from the junior varsity and varsity teams.

“A great thing about this year is how much the upperclass-men support the freshman,” said Kattnig. “This is shown in one of my favorite coaching moments, when the JV and varsity girls rushed the floor in celebration of the C team’s one point victory over Lake City.”

There is ample reason to hope that both boys and girls basketball programs have a bright future, with the growth both C teams have seen throughout the season.

Another thing showing that things are trending in an upward direction is the leadership displayed from players on both the boys and girls C teams.

Sam McPhail, Danny Mickkelson and Luis de la Cruz — playing their second year with coach Stillwell — have played key roles in helping develop the continuity on the team. They encouraged the freshmen, which has resulted in them taking bigger steps in their development.

For the girls, coach Kattnig noted the entire team has been supportive towards each other. He noted a few players who have stood out among the group — those being Adamary Vitinio, Kate Mclain and Lydia Frazier.

Other players have also been key members. For the boys, that includes Spencer Barnes, Fernando Molins, Adrian Perea, Jose Sanchez, Davis Mauney, Kevin Meza, Dolan, John Isham, Nick Ferraro, Omar Medina, Jayce Davis, Stefan Romero and Rylan Richter.

“It felt pretty good to end the season with a win. I had fun,” said de la Cruz. “We practiced and worked hard all season and started to get better.”

Other girls contributing to the C team this year were Vica Shoemaker, Elaina Dillard, Jordan Krueger, Sam Brown, Cooper Keating, Steaphany Magana, Ali Garcia, Lorena Diaz, Odalis Cortez and Asucena Ballestros.

“The season I feel was great,” said Vitinio. “We were not the best team out there today, but we are a family and have gotten so much better. What I’m going to miss about this season is the team and coaches and the bond we built.”

(Brandon Warr can be contacted at 970.641.1414 or brandon@gunnisontimes.com.)