LONGMONT — The whole dynamic of Longmont Christian boys basketball has changed.
Home games at the St. Vrain Memorial Building that used to be filled with students, family and friends have now added television cameras and scouts to the mix.
Funny what a little success can do for you.
But it is how the Warriors handle all those outside distractions that will either make them on break them. On Tuesday night, against a scrappy team from Highland, the Warriors "just weren't ready to play," according to coach Myron Huey.
It showed. Highland simply out-physicaled the Warriors and on the strength of a 10-0 run to close out the third quarter, pulled away from Longmont Christian for a 65-58 win.
"We just weren't mentally ready to play and we've talked about that before, maybe this will help it sink in," Huey continued.
It is the third straight loss for the Class 1A No. 7 Warriors, who spent last week in Alaska and got beat twice, after they started the season with six consecutive wins.
Their mulleted opponents from Ault made things difficult on them from the get-go. The Huskies full-court press gave Huey's team fits and forced eight first quarter turnovers.
Highland (9-2) showed no fear of the Warriors 6-foot-9 Croatian sensation, Antun Maricevic. They would drive to the basket and make the extra pass that would get open looks and on the perimeter were able to find open shots as well.
The game, which always felt tilted in the Huskies favor, was never more than three possession difference until late in the third quarter.
With Luke Puchino on the bench after picking up his fourth foul (the score was 35-33 at the time), the Warriors were on the wrong side of a 10-0 run in the final 2:07 that saw the lead grow to 45-33. The dagger was a six point Cole Rouse possession in the final 11.5 seconds. He hit two 3-pointers with a Longmont Christian foul in between.
"We didn't play well in Alaska and that is what bothers me. This is kind of a remanent of that," Huey said. "(Highland) did some good things, they are a good team. Maybe we should have been more physical, because they got away with a lot of physicality, not being dirty, because the team that does more, get's away with more."
Maricevic had his moments, mostly in the first half from behind the mark, stroking three beautiful long-range jumpers with ease en route to his 18 points. The Warriors climbed back in the game behind Puchino's 21 second half points (he finished with 29), but couldn't get over the top.
"The real oddity is that with as poorly as we played, we had a chance to win with four minutes to go," Huey said. "We've got to be ready Friday night (against Dayspring Christian). I saw a couple of bright spots and you see an opening at the end of the tunnel and it is either the sun coming up or a train coming at you."
Rouse led the Huskies with 21 points and the games biggest antagonist Reese Anderson, finished with 18.
Highland 65, Longmont Christian 58
At St. Vrain Memorial Building
Trey Allmon 3 2-4 8, Cole Rouse 5 9-12 22, Tanner Dill 5 1-4 12, Christian Barber 0 0-0 0, Koby Anderson 2 1-2 5, Rian James 0 0-0 0, Will Overton 0 0-0 0, Reese Anderson 6 6-8 18. Totals 21 19-30 .65
LONGMONT CHRISTIAN (6-3)
Jackson Solem 2 0-0 4, Luke Puchino 8 9-10 29, Cameron Jauregui 1 0-0 2, Kenneth Hannan 2 1-1 5, Zach Shaefer 0 0-0 0, Blake Azar 0 0-0 0, Max Azar 0 0-0 0, Antun Maricevic 5 5-7 18. Totals 18 15-18 58.
Score by quarters:Highland 9 16 20 20 — 65
Longmont Christian 7 15 11 25 — 58
3-point field goals — Highland (4): Rouse 3, Dill; Longmont Christian (7): Puchino 4, Marecevic 3. Total fouls — Highland 17; Longmont Christian 24. Fouled out — Solem, Jauregui. Technical foul — Jauregui.