JOHNSTOWN — The Niwot girls basketball team didn't exactly turn its defense into offense like it wants on Monday afternoon, but that's not to say the Cougars' defense wasn't effective.
In fact, it was quite the opposite as they played their second post-break game in Roosevelt High's Roughrider Shootout. Contesting shot after shot after shot against Woodland Park, Niwot found a comfort zone early and stepped on the gas pedal late in a 42-26 win at RHS.
In head coach Terri Ward's third season back with the program, the Cougars appear to be headed in a great direction at 7-1 as they soon venture into Northern League play. They are allowing opponents a minuscule 29 points a contest.
"The big thing about this group is they are buying in to what the coaches are asking them to do, and they know we're not going to put them in a position where they're going to fail," Ward said after the win, a bounce-back effort after falling to Frederick on Saturday. "I think we have a good common ground and respect there.
"Today, I think it was a good job just coming back from what we would consider a disappointing effort against Frederick. Defensively, we were better."
Niwot gained win No. 7 an impressive fashion, holding Woodland Park to 10 for 42 shooting and just seven free throw attempts. The Panthers were a team heavy on guard play, but the Cougars extended their defensive effort well out onto the perimeter to challenge Woodland Park's 19 3-point attempts.
Woodland Park made just three treys, and two of those came with the game well out of reach.
Meanwhile, the Cougars also had to find their rhythm on the offensive end, but they were able to weed through some shooting woes while holding a lead. Shooting around 25 percent the first half themselves, Niwot went 11 for 22 from the floor in the second half.
Leading just 15-9 at the break, the Cougars went on an early 9-2 run to get their lead into double digits by the 4 minute, 46 second mark of the third frame. YY Chen had five of her 10 points in that span, and Alyssa Jenkins also finished with 10 points including some tough mid-range makes in the second and fourth quarters.
Rosie Setter helped the cause with eight points and Alli Mercier pitched in five points. Mary Gillett had seven rebounds to lead NHS, as well.
"We just felt like we needed to come out and start a new streak and just learn from our mistakes," Jenkins added. "We all kind of stepped up. Coach Ward said if we all just scored two or three more points in a game, it's going to go a long way."
"Everyone has a place on this team and it's not about one individual, and that's what is great," Chen said. "We just want to be consistent."
Niwot plays host Roosevelt Tuesday, and then it's onto the Northern League action Thursday against Greeley Central.
NIWOT 42, WOODLAND PARK 26
At Roosevelt HS
Alli Mercier 2 1-2 5, Allie Colvin 0 0-0 0, Jordyn Kulanko 1 1-2 3, Rosie Setter 4 0-0 8, Emily Mercier 0 0-0 0, YY Chen 3 2-2 10, Mary Gillett 1 0-2 2, Alyssa Jenkins 5 0-0 10, Keena Strope 1 2-2 4. Totals 17 6-9 42.
WOODLAND PARK (0-6)
Jenna Bashor 0 0-0 0, Katie Christian 0 0-0 0, Ashley Heidekrueger 1 1-1 3, Gracie Forbes 0 0-0 0, Nikki Kemp 3 0-2 8, Abby Kemp 1 0-0 2, Mackenzie Porter 2 0-0 5, Bre Truscelli 1 0-0 2, Kylee Newsome 2 2-4 6, Bayli Jones 0 0-0 0. Totals 10 3-7 26.
Score by quarters:Niwot 11 4 9 18 — 42
3-point field goals — Niwot (2): Chen 2; Woodland Park (3): N. Kemp 2, Porter.