FREDERICK — Frederick boys basketball coach Enoch Miller knew he was leaving a talented bunch at Niwot when he opted to better his family situation by taking the FHS coaching job this past summer.
That didn't stop Niwot from wanting to prove it even more on Saturday night at the Frederick gym.
Using a hot start from the perimeter and then closing things out from the free throw line after the Warriors came charging hard, the Cougars got the best of Miller's team, 63-57, in what proved to be an entertaining non-league game.
The senior-heavy Cougars got 13 points apiece from Walker Bounds and Ryan Kannegieter, and junior Adam Barber added 10 to push NHS to 5-8 overall.
Chelton LeBon paced Frederick, which dropped to 2-11 coming off an overtime loss Friday night, with 19 points.
"It was on our minds. (Miller) is a good coach and we definitely respect him, but we wanted to go out and show him what he's missing," said Kannegieter, who also had six rebounds. "We came in with a little extra emotion and I think we channeled that pretty good.
"We want to play four good quarters of basketball, and tonight we played three good ones and were able to pull it out in the end."
Both teams ended up hitting eight 3-pointers while showing some occasional flash, too, but Niwot's toughness at the end tipped the scales just enough. The Cougars had some turnovers that helped feed into Frederick's late momentum, but needing to nail down the game at the charity stripe, Niwot made 10 of 14 attempts in the fourth quarter.
They needed every last one, with the way Frederick started to hit shots. A 48-38 Niwot lead to start the fourth frame became 51-49 with 4 minutes, 22 seconds left after back-to-back treys from Matthew Plack and LeBon. In the midst of numerous free throws, Kannegieter had a big rebound and coast-to-coast layup at the 3:02 mark to make it 55-49.
Frederick kept shooting and making shots, and LeBon hit a mid-lane jumper with 28 seconds left that made it 61-57. But the Warriors ran out of gas from there.
Frederick made 13 of 22 shots in the second half, including five 3-pointers. Plack and Nathan Washington finished with eight points apiece in the loss.
"We're in the early stages of our development with this program, so we're just not there yet as far as being able to finish games off," Miller said. "It's all a part of the learning process.
"I love those kids over at Niwot and I loved the school. There was no ill will when it came to leaving and I am glad to say I was part of their development."
Niwot 63, Frederick 57
At Frederick HS
Jackson Kolakowski 1 1-2 3, Mason Lopez 1 0-0 3, Jacob Sims 1 0-0 3, Joseph Ho 1 0-0 2, Walker Bounds 3 7-9 13, Roberto Ramirez 1 0-0 2, Noah Radatz 0 0-0 0, Ryan Kannegieter 4 3-4 13, Adam Barber 3 1-2 10, Michael Agado 1 3-4 5, Ty Vigil 1 4-5 7, Michael Oliver 1 0-0 2. Totals 18 19-26 63.
Matthew Plack 3 0-0 8, Avery Elkins 2 0-0 6, Chelton LeBon 6 4-4 19, Andrew Chohon 1 0-0 2, Levi Nichols 2 0-0 4, Nathan Washington 4 0-1 8, Jose Campos 2 0-1 4, Alec Bessler 2 1-2 6. Totals 22 5-8 57.
Score by quarters:Niwot 14 19 15 15 — 63
Frederick 12 11 15 19 — 57
3-point field goals — Niwot (8): Barber 3, Kannegieter 2, Lopez, Sims, Vigil; Fredrick (8): LeBon 3, Plack 2, Elkins 2, Bessler. Fouled out — Bessler.