LONGMONT -- When a basketball team has a starting five like the Longmont boys do, players coming off the bench tend to get overshadowed. It's often just the nature of the beast.
So when reserves do get their time to shine, they know they'd better take advantage.
And so it was on Friday night as the 4A No. 3-ranked Trojans simply were in a different class as Greeley Central en route to doubling up the Wildcats 70-35.
The bench scored almost half of Longmont's total -- 33 points -- as the home team improved to 13-1 on the season.
"We came out with great energy and pushed the ball and made sure we got inside and didn't settle for 3s," said Joe Riss, who led the way for the reserves with 10 points, his varsity high. "For sure, it feels great. You know what? We have a great starting five and it's tough to get in there sometimes in close games. But this is awesome."
With Longmont outscoring Central 27-9 in the second quarter to pull away, coach Jeff Kloster was able to use 14 players, a dozen of whom scored on Friday. Luke Johnson (8 points) and Kole Earhart (7) were the biggest producers off the bench besides Riss.
"Fortunately this year we've been able to play anywhere from 10 to 12 kids on a regular basis with the exception of two ballgames," Kloster said. "It's a great opportunity for those guys to be able to continue to get experience and work on their game. They work hard in practice so you want to give them the opportunity."
And, of course, the usual suspects helped the cause by building a big lead. Most notably, Boise State signee Justinian Jessup racked up 17 points, including a dozen in the second quarter. Riss added seven in that period, including four in one possession.
The victory pushed Longmont's remarkable streak of consecutive 4A Northern League wins to 20, dating back to February of 2014. The Trojans are 6-0 in league action this season and overall have won 40 of their last 42 games.
"I owe it to our kids; our kids buy in," Kloster said. "I owe it to our coaching staff. Things we stress, we want them to be able to do on a consistent basis. It always starts at the defensive end for us. Again tonight, I thought our defensive effort was tremendous (LHS forced 22 turnovers -- including 17 in the first half -- and Greeley Central shot just 27.7 percent from the field). We had run-outs because of the defense. It's just a pride thing in the way we play. If we continue to do that, we're going to find success."
All in all, Longmont has rebounded nicely from its first regular-season loss in 23 months -- last weekend against the 5A Far Northeast Warriors. Earlier this week, the Trojans defeated a good Thompson Valley team by 20, then they took care of business on Friday against Greeley Central (2-12, 0-6).
"You know, sometimes you need to be humbled," Kloster noted. "The thing I appreciated was how we reacted in the game after -- how we brought it against Thompson Valley. We really gave a great effort. The kids always give a really good effort."
Up next, Longmont will be at rival Silver Creek on Tuesday night.
Longmont 70, Greeley Central 35
GREELEY CENTRAL (2-12, 0-6)
Yackey 1 1-2 3, Perez 0 0-0 0, Cerventes 2 1-2 6, Bonham 0 1-2 1, Maldonado 0 1-2 1, Rushanika 4 0-1 8, Varghese 1 1-2 4, Vega 3 0-0 6, Martin 1 0-0 2, Smith 1 2-2 4. Totals 13 7-13 35..
LONGMONT (13-1, 6-0)
Sullivan 1 3-3 5, Jessup 7 1-2 17, Speidel 1 0-0 2, Bachman 3 5-8 11, Mugunga 1 0-0 2, Earhart 3 0-0 7, Johnson 4 0-0 8, Rulon 1 0-0 3, Riss 3 4-8 10, Dehning 0 2-2 2, Dion 0 1-2 1, Thompson 0 2-2 2. Totals 24 18-27 70..
Score by quarters:Greeley Central 5 9 15 6 — 35
3-point field goals — Greeley Central (2): Varghese, Cervantes; Longmont (4): Jessup 2, Earhart, Rulon. Total fouls — Greeley Central 16, Longmont 15. Fouled out — none. Technical fouls — Bachman (hanging on rim).
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