LONGMONT -- Freshman point guard Cade Martin didn't waste the first opportunity to start a game for Longmont Christian in his high school career.
Scoring a game-high 16 points, Martin made a pair of clutch baskets that held off a fourth-quarter comeback from Nederland and sent his Warriors home with a 56-50 win.
"It was definitely crazy. I'm at a loss for words," Martin said. "I'm just glad we came with the W. I wasn't just looking to score. I was trying to get my teammates involved if I could. I'm just glad we won. It's not just about me. I did it for my team today."
Normally the sixth man, the 5-foot-3 Martin started Friday's 2A Mile High League game because senior point guard Cole Moffitt was sick.
After trailing since early in the second quarter, the Panthers (4-4, 0-2) tied the game 47-47 late in the fourth quarter. Not only did Martin hit a driving floater from the left side to reclaim the lead for the Warriors (5-3, 2-2) with two minutes left, but he followed it up with a 3-pointer to push the lead to five on the next possession.
The Panthers didn't get any closer the rest of the game.
"We expected to win bigger but a win is a win," said Martin, the son of head coach Doug Martin. "When they started coming back into the game, we knew we had to play better defense. We had to make defense the strongest point of our game."
Last week the Warriors dropped three straight to Denver Christian, Shining Mountain (No. 1 in Class 1A) and Resurrection Christian, which is ranked ninth in 2A. Junior guard Josiah Bolyard said the Warriors are now midway through a four-game stretch they believe to be an opportunity to come out of 4-0.
"This one was really important to keep that going," Bolyard said.
Bolyard said the Warriors didn't feel they let the Panthers back in the game with defensive lapses on Friday. Rather, he felt the Panthers, in particular senior guard Dillon Weaver and senior forward Holden Reecer, pulled them back in by playing more aggressively in the second half.
"We had a game plan and it was basically to cover those two," Bolyard said. "In the second half, both of them just kept hitting shots."
Weaver said he was felt energized entering the game since the Panthers didn't work too hard at practice the day before. He finished with a game-high 25 points. Hitting three of his four 3-pointers, he scored 17 points in the second half.
"I knew that if I could get the shots up, they'd fall," Weaver said. "I was pretty confident."
Attacking the rim in the third and fourth, Reecer scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half.
The Panthers have lost two starters -- small forward Connor Steele and center Chris Clemmer -- to injury in the past week. Weaver said he felt like he needed to make up for their loss with extra shots until the Panthers can regain some continuity on the court.
"We're just trying to figure out how to get the chemistry together," Weaver said. "The more that we play with each other, the easier it'll be. We just need to keep playing with each other and we'll get better."
The Panthers will face Front Range Christian at home on Tuesday. The Warriors will be on the road at Belleview Christian on Tuesday and at home against Cornerstone Christian on Thursday.
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Longmont Christian 56, Nederland 50
At Memorial Gym in Longmont
NEDERLAND (4-4, 0-2)
Airola 0 0-0 0, Seeman 1 0-0 2, Haffey 0 0-0 0, Weaver 10 1-3 25, Abendroth 1 1-1 3, Thibedeau 1 1-7 4, Reecer 6 4-7 16. Totals 19 7-18 50.
LONGMONT CHRISTIAN (5-3, 2-2)
Martin 6 2-5 16, Lee 0 0-0 0, Flowers 5 0-0 10, Wherli 1 2-2 4, Bolyard 3 3-4 9, Rodarte 3 0-0 8, Leetch 2 2-2 6, Moffitt 1 1-4 3. Totals 21 10-17 56.
Score by quarters:
Nederland 8 11 15 16 -- 50
Longmont Christian 12 13 13 18 -- 56
3-point field goals -- Nederland (4): Weaver 4; Longmont Christian (4): Martin 2, Rodarte 2. Total fouls -- Nederland 16, Longmont Christian 14. Fouled out -- Thibedeau, Wehrli. Technical fouls -- None.