LITTLETON -- When Ron Burgin took over the Boulder girls basketball program in June, he set a very specific list of game-by-game goals for the Panthers.
To encapsulate it briefly, Burgin wants his clubs to press doggedly, run the floor, and aim for 70 points in every game. Each of those aspects were on full display Saturday afternoon, as the Panthers posted a 71-63 victory against Valor Christian during the final day of action at the third annual "Battle At The Ridge" tournament at Dakota Ridge.
Boulder put together a smothering defensive effort and received a career-best scoring performance from senior Lena Jaycox to improve to 3-1.
"What our system is all about is pressuring and getting easy buckets. We did a good job of that today in spurts," Burgin said. "It's a good win for us. Our goal is to try and score over 70 and we did for the first time today. So we're getting there. But the way you do that is getting easy buckets. That worked for us, but we didn't close it out well at all."
Boulder led 16-14 at the end of the first quarter and ratcheted up its defensive pressure in the second frame to pull away. The Panthers forced 33 turnovers overall, including 13 in the second quarter and 11 in the third. Valor Christian actually shot well during those two frames, going 9 for 15 overall, but Boulder's repeated takeaways allowed the Panthers to build a 55-43 lead going into the final quarter.
"Our whole offense is about a fast-break press and traps on our defense," senior Courtney Van Bussum said. "I think we came out slow, but when we came out in the second quarter we really picked up our intensity. We started running our traps and that started forcing a lot of turnovers.
"It's still the beginning of the season, but we're starting to figure out how to play as a team with a new coach and a new offense. To finally get that (70 points) is pretty cool."
Jaycox finished with a career-best 32 points, scoring seven in a row midway through the third quarter after Valor Christian had battled to within four points. Not long after that spurt, however, Jaycox committed her fourth foul, sending her to the bench and forcing her to settle for just two points over the final 11 minutes of the game.
Yet in what clearly was a promising sign for the Panthers, Boulder actually extended its lead during the 5 minutes Jaycox was sidelined. Although Burgin was dissatisfied with a sloppy fourth quarter that saw the Panthers commit 11 turnovers, Valor never got closer than the final margin of eight points.
Van Bussum supported Jaycox with 12 points as nine different players contributed to the Panthers' 71-point effort.
"You start getting steals, and then it's just layup after layup, and once you get that your intensity turns up," Jaycox said. "It started leading to good things. The running and getting layups, if we didn't have those traps I wouldn't have had that many points. I have to thank my teammates."
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Boulder 71, Valor Christian 63
At Dakota Ridge HS
VALOR CHRISTIAN (1-3)
Little 0 0-0 0, Foley 7 0-0 18, O'Dowd 0 2-2 2, Pequette 3 5-6 11, Bradbury 9 5-8 23, Larrabee 0 0-0 0, Gibson 0 0-0 0, Fehn 1 3-4 5, Williams 1 0-0 2, Roth 0 0-0 0, Thibault 0 2-2 2. Totals 21 17-22 63.
Burns 1 0-0 2, Jaycox 13 3-6 32, Van Bussum 4 4-8 12, Gates 0 2-2 2, Szarmach 2 2-2 6, Dawson 1 0-0 2, Gregorich 3 2-3 8, Alexander 1 0-0 2, Aschbacher 2 1-2 5. Totals 27 14-23 71.
Score by quarters:
Valor Christian 14 14 15 20 -- 63
Boulder 16 22 17 16 -- 71
3-point field goals -- Valor Christian (4): Foley 4; Boulder (3): Jaycox 3. Total fouls -- Valor Christian 21, Boulder 18. Fouled out -- O'Dowd.