MONUMENT -- Last year, the Broomfield boys basketball team proved its legitimacy early in the season by beating eventual state champion Lewis-Palmer. This time around, the Eagles' finish resulted a much different outcome.
The second-ranked Eagles suffered the worst loss of their season Friday night at the defending Class 4A state champion's home court. With no answer for the No. 1 Rangers' powerful offense in the second half, Broomfield fell 75-53.
There were a number of things that went wrong on the court, but those were not the factors Broomfield's Dan Perse pointed out. To the forward, the Eagles fell because of temperment, not play.
"Think our whole attitude about this team will change (after tonight)," the senior said. "We can't just walk in to a gym and think just because it says Broomfield across our chest the win is going to be handed to us."
Perse's aggressive play at the post had Broomfield (2-2) appearing ready to upset Lewis-Palmer (5-0) for a second year in a row. The senior finished the night with a team-high 20 points, rattling off 16 of them in the opening two periods. Combined with Spenser Reeb hitting 11 of his 14 points before half, the Eagles had the game within reason heading into intermission.
"I think we had a good scout on them, I think we knew what to expect from them," Broomfield coach Terrence Dunn said.
The game turned primarily on the play of one Ranger -- Justin Smith. The Idaho State University recruit devastated Broomfield's defense. The 6-foot 6-inch forward finished the night with a game-high 25 points and was nearly unstoppable coming out of halftime.
Smith heated up early in the third, drawing a few fouls and making the subsequent free throws. But it was after he slammed down a dunk in midway through the period that he took off. His most devastating shots were two 3-pointers to end quarter, giving his team a 13-point lead and initiating the rout.
The Eagles' rough period out of half was exasperated by other factors as well.
"Our defense broke down. We were getting tired. And we had important kids on the bench with three fouls in the third," Perse said. "We just couldn't find a way to fight through that."
While Dunn credited Smith with a big night, he also pointed to overall shaky defensive play by the Eagles that allowed him and three other Rangers to break into double digits. Lewis-Palmer exploited the perimeter, finishing the night with nine 3-pointers from five different players.
"We didn't play with the defensive intensity we need to," Dunn said.
The coach beleives the Eagles have a ways to go before they get where they need to be, but also believes Friday was a step in that process. And while Broomfield is not presently a No. 2 team, Dunn has faith his team has the potential to be if his players recommit themselves.
"I think we are better than we played tonight," he said. "But I think we also have plenty of work to get where we want to be."
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Lewis-Palmer 75, Broomfield 53
At Lewis-Palmer HS
Jukkala 1 0-0 2, Macrae 1 0-0 2, Perse 10 0-1 20, Reeb 5 1-2 14, Kihn 3 4-4 10, Hull 2 1-2 5. Totals 22 6-9 53.
Scott 7 1-2 17, Jones 1 0-0 3, Smith 9 8-10 25, Stone 7 0-0 14, Owens 3 6-8 13. Totals 27 15-20 75.
Score by quarters:
Broomfield 17 13 16 7 -- 53
Lewis-Palmer 20 18 21 16 -- 75
3-point field goals -- Broomfield (): Reeb1; Home (9): Scott 2, Jones, Smith 3, Stone 2, Owens. Total fouls -- Broomfield 16, Lewis-Palmer 12. Fouled out -- Kihn. Technical fouls -- none.