BROOMFIELD -- The way the Broomfield boys basketball team has been rolling through Northern League play, the Eagles are looking like they might well go unscathed.
Aside from a last-second, one-point victory on the road against Thompson Valley, no one in the conference has come within single digits of Broomfield.
So the Eagles -- ranked eighth in Class 4A in the Denver Post coaches poll -- were ready to make a statement against another top-flight foe in Saturday's non-conference showdown against No. 5 Pueblo East.
And after controlling play for most of the game, Broomfield fended off a pair of fourth-quarter rallies for a 69-64 triumph.
"We purposely scheduled this game so we knew we'd have a tough test getting
Broomfield improved to 14-3 overall, winning for the 10th game in a row. The Eagles have six games remaining in the regular season, with a rematch against Thompson Valley on Feb. 12 likely the biggest hurdle.
Besides Thompson Valley, "(Northern League teams) don't give us that playoff feel these guys can give us," said 6-foot-5 Broomfield senior Spenser Reeb, who led all scorers with 20 points Saturday.
Broomfield never trailed, but the win didn't come easily.
In a game chopped up by 50 foul calls, neither team got in a consistent offensive rhythm, with both coming up with much of their offense in transition or at the foul line.
Broomfield gained some breathing room twice in the second half, but both times Pueblo East, also the Eagles, fought back.
Down as many as 17 in the third quarter, Pueblo East (14-2) used an 8-0 run to start the fourth quarter and shave Broomfield's lead to 52-45.
BHS fought off that threat and looked like it had put an exclamation point on the victory with back-to-back open court dunks by Alec McLain and Dan Perse that made it 66-52 with 1:57 to play in the game.
But East gave Broomfield fits with its full-court press over the final two minutes and got to within 66-62 with 40 seconds to go before Evan Kihn hit three of four free throws to finally ice the victory.
Pueblo East, which had won 12 straight, was in foul trouble almost from the start and saw two starters foul out, including JohnPaul Eggert, who led the team with 18 points. But East went to the line plenty themselves, hitting 17 of 23 free throws.
"It's tough on both teams," Pueblo East coach Dave Ryder, whose squad ousted Broomfield in the 2010 state quarterfinals, said of all the fouls. "You've got to play through that. That's part of the mental toughness thing we talk about."
All four of Broomfield's players who average double figures scored 10
After three early-season losses against tough competition -- 5A Fairview and Highlands Ranch, and 4A No. 1 Lewis-Palmer -- Broomfield walked away from Saturday night's measuring-stick victory feeling like ample strides had been made.
"It's definitely good playing good competition like that," Kihn said. "They're a good team, and we might see them again."
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Broomfield 69, Pueblo East 64
At Broomfield HS
PUEBLO EAST (14-2)
Jara 0 0-0 0, Gradisar 3 0-0 7, Rode 2 0-0 4, D. Gavin 5 6-7 16, Eggert 5 6-9 18, T. Gavin 2 5-6 9, Valdez 5 0-1 10. Totals 22 17-23 64.
Jukkala 1 0-2 3, Macrae 0 0-0 10, Perse 5 0-0 10, Reeb 7 5-7 20, Ericson 0 0-0 0, Kihn 2 14-21 18, McLain 8 0-0 16, Hull 1 0-4 2. Totals 24 19-34 69.
Score by quarters:
Pueblo East 7 17 13 27 -- 64
Broomfield 16 18 18 17 -- 69
3-point field goals -- Pueblo East (3): Eggert 2, Gradisar; Broomfield (2): Jukkala, Reeb. Total fouls -- Pueblo East 26, Broomfield 24. Fouled out -- Eggert, Valdez. Technicals -- None.