LONGMONT -- What happens if you show up for a 4A boys high school basketball game and a 6-foot-and-under contest breaks out?
Or, more precisely, 5-10-and-under?
That's kind of what happened to the Longmont Trojans on Friday night. They faced an anomaly at this level: an opponent that, except for a few minutes, used a lineup made up completely of players 5-10 and under. And, by the way, its top two scorers on Friday measure out at 5-5 and 5-8.
But LHS met the challenge presented by a small but frenetic Greeley Central team, winning a back-and-forth contest at home, 60-57.
The victory avenged a 12-point loss at Greeley Central last month, and left the Trojans at 12-4 and 5-3 in the Northern League. LHS has won six of its last seven contests.
"I've got to tip my hat to our kids as far as, it was like a heavyweight punch-out," Longmont coach Jeff Kloster said. "We knew whoever was going to win the fourth quarter was going to win the ball-game. Fortunately we made enough defensive stops and we attacked the hoop."
Indeed, the game wasn't settled until the final 10 seconds, when Greeley Central missed a 3-pointer while trailing by three.
All told, the game featured 10 ties and 14 lead changes. But after 5-5 Matt Garcia hit one of his five 3-pointers on Friday to put Greeley Central up 45-43 early in the fourth quarter, Longmont used a 6-0 run -- including four points by junior Austin Kemp -- to go up for good.
After getting within three in the final minute, the Wildcats misfired twice to end their chances.
"It was actually pretty difficult (to play a team like that) because they're so fast and scrappy," said Kemp, whose 24-point effort marked his fifth consecutive game of 20 points or more. "But we adjusted well."
Although Longmont allowed eight 3-pointers, it did play better on-ball pressure defense than last month at Greeley Central.
"Drive them and don't let them drive us -- that's what coach always tells us," Kemp said of the defensive game plan.
The other difference was that on Friday, the Wildcats were missing their one sizable player, 6-5 Dylan Herr, who was out with a concussion. That allowed Longmont to take advantage for plenty of baskets inside. The Trojans ended up shooting 59 percent from the field.
"We just got a lot more looks inside (this time)," said LHS freshman Justinian Jessup, who finished with 13 points, including three 3-pointers. "Austin had a lot of layups, Marcus (Johnson) had a lot of layups. They got to the basket really well. And they kicked it out to the (perimeter shooters). So getting inside was a big key tonight."
The loss was just the third of calendar year 2013 for Greeley Central, which dropped to 9-8 and 5-3 in league action.
Longmont will be back in action Tuesday at Niwot.
Longmont 60, Greeley Central 57
At Longmont HS
GREELEY CENTRAL (9-8, 5-3)
Parks 0 0-0 0, Butherus 6 5-6 17, Martinez 4 0-0 10, Garcia 6 5-5 22, Ramirez 1 0-0 3, Vigil 2 1-2 5, Conway 0 0-0 0, Yellowhair 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 11-13 57.
LONGMONT (12-4, 5-3)
Alaniz 4 0-0 8, Jessup 5 0-0 13, Kemp 9 6-7 24, Sullivan 0 2-2 2, Johnson 4 0-2 8, Sterkel 0 0-0 0, Donaldson 1 1-1 3, Mitchell 1 0-0 2. Totals 24 9-12 60.
Score by quarters:
Greeley Central 14 15 13 15 -- 57
Longmont 14 15 14 17 -- 60
3-point field goals -- Greeley Central (8): Garcia 5, Martinez 2, Ramirez; Longmont (3): Jessup 3. Total fouls -- Greeley Central 12, Longmont 16. Fouled out -- Alaniz. Technical fouls -- none.