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I've seen the Broomfield boys basketball team play a couple times this season and the Eagles have struck me as a potential surprise threat in the 5A Front Range League once conference play gets going.

The Eagles are off to a 7-2 start and nearly pulled off a comeback against Lincoln on Thursday that would have pushed their record to 8-1. Remember, this is a team that went 5-18 last season, its first at the Class 5A level. Broomfield is also a school on the lower end of Class 5A enrollment but the Eagles are adjusting quickly and could be poised for a breakout season.

I talked to head coach Terrence Dunn after Thursday's loss to Lincoln about what he believes are the keys to the Eagles maintaining their current level of success this season. Here are three main things:

• Emphasize a culture of teamwork. Dunn: "We're emphasizing stats like assist-to-field goal ratio. After Christmas break we were about 67 percent."

• Defense. Dunn: "We've got to dig in. That hurt us in the first quarter (against Lincoln) and we allowed the most points (66) we have all season."

• Be tougher and smarter. Dunn: "We're rarely going to be bigger, stronger or faster. We stole some stuff from Butler [University] and we've developed what we are calling 'The Eagle Way.' Humility, passion, servanthood, appreciation and unity are the things we're focusing on. We've been working hard and doing things the right way so far and we need to keep that up."

Talented seniors Nate Lehnerz, Jack Burgesser and Kyle Rynearson are versatile and consistent. Junior Sam Foster (13.2 ppg), who scored a career-high 25 points on Thursday, and 6-foot-6 sophomore forward Devin Martinez, who scored nine first-half points while the Eagles were struggling, are emerging impact players. While this Broomfield team isn't huge, they're not small either. And the Eagles coaches run a fairly deep rotation because, well, they can.

Most of all, the Eagles have a confidence that they lacked last year, the type of confidence that was necessary for the Eagles to come from 16 points down to make Thursday's game against Lincoln an exciting finish.

"The culture has completely changed and we're definitely a lot more confident this year," Foster said on Thursday. "We're playing as a team more and if we didn't have confidence, we wouldn't have been able to come back tonight."

Confidence is dangerous. So are the Eagles.

Brad Cochi: or