BOULDER -- With a slate of new faces on the court this season, the Niwot boys basketball team understood the task in front of it. The Cougars knew they would lick their wounds on occasion, but that would all be a part of the growing process.

One of those learning experiences came Friday night. Niwot came close to ending the Fairview Festival on a high note, but was stymied at the end by a resilient Pine Creek squad.

The Cougars suffered a 51-48 loss in the fifth-place game of the tournament, when the Colorado Springs team surged in the final minutes of the game. The Eagles' Jase Hamstad dunked the ball with around 2 minutes on the clock, and from then his team never trailed.

"It was a tough one, but we pulled it together (in the fourth) to be there," Niwot senior Nate Merriman said.

The Cougars went on an 18-point run against Pine Creek to put themselves in position to make it a game in the fourth and had a strong offensive showing putting three players in double digits. Merriman led all shooters with 15 points, Jordan Keeler finished with 10 and Clarke Cowell with 11.

Even though Niwot suffered two losses in the tournament, Travis Moran was not disappointed in the growth he saw out of his team. The coach believes the Cougars are starting to figure out where some of the pieces fit entering tonight's game at Skyline (3-2).

"We have a real tough week ahead too," Moran said. "So this stretch is an opportunity to battle and see what we're made of."

Follow Elwood on Twitter: @ElwoodKShelton.

 

Pine Creek 51, Niwot 48

At Fairview HS

PINE CREEK (2-3)

Coker 3 1-1 9, Robertson 1 0-0 2, Morin 1 2-2 5, Hamstad 2 0-0 5, Black 2 0-0 4, Meachum 3 2-2 7, Fraicy 2 2-4 6, Lopez 5 1-1 13. Total 19 6-10 51.

NIWOT (3-3)

Heart 1 0-0 2, Keeler 4 2-2 10, Merriman 5 5-9 15, Kolakowski 2 0-0 5, Bands 2 0-0 2, Cowell 5 0-2 11. Totals 19 7-13 48.

Score by quarters:

Pine Creek 7 18 16 10 -- 51Niwot 8 12 10 18 -- 48

3-point field goals -- Pine creek (7): Coker 2, Morin, Hamstad, Meachum, Lopez 2; Fairview (1): Cowell. Total fouls -- Pine Creek 14, Niwot 11. Fouled out -- none. Technical fouls -- none.