BOULDER — Senior Nate Lehnerz has developed a reputation for being the bit-of-everything contributor so far in the Broomfield boys basketball team's inspiring season.
It was only fitting that Lehnerz be the igniter that helped his team beat Boulder, which is in the midst of its own impressive run, on Tuesday night.
In a tight contest on the road, Lehnerz finished with 11 points, nine rebounds, three assists and three steals. He also hit a key 3-pointer to spark a fourth-quarter rally that allowed his Eagles to pull away for a 57-49 win and remain undefeated in Front Range League play.
"We just came together as a team in the fourth quarter," Lehnerz said. "We had to flip the switch so we go and take care of business. That's what happened. You always need a little bit of something to get you going and maybe that shot was it."
The absence of senior Landon Taliaferro (16.6 ppg), Boulder's top player who was injured in practice this week, was felt by both teams. While the Panthers (9-5, 3-1 Front Range) scored over half their points on 3-pointers (10-for-22), they had little success attacking the basket. Eagles head coach Terrence Dunn said knowing Taliaferro wouldn't play caused the Eagles (11-2, 4-0 Front Range) to start the game slowly and the Panthers threatened to pull away.
"When they found out he wasn't playing, I think they relaxed a little bit," Dunn said. "But Boulder's a great team and they showed us that in the first quarter."
Though Boulder got off to a great start and led 18-9 after the first quarter, Broomfield held the Panthers scoreless for the first five minutes of the second quarter and cut the Panthers' lead to 26-24 at halftime. The Eagles pulled ahead momentarily but as time ran out in the third quarter Panthers senior Bill DiScipio, who led all scorers with 16 points, hit a 3-pointer to put Boulder back up.
Starting at the 5:04 mark of the fourth quarter, Lehnerz hit the first of three consecutive unanswered 3-pointers that put Broomfield up 49-41 with 2:58 left. With the Eagles up just two in the final minute, senior Jack Burgesser finished a dunk that put them up for good in the final 30 seconds.
"We didn't do a great job of winning the toughness battle," Panthers head coach Jack Clarke said. "We just didn't have a great night finishing plays and possessions. But we had some guys step up and we'll keep working going forward."
The Panthers will head to Fort Collins to take on Rocky Mountain (6-7, 1-2 Front Range) on Friday. Also on Friday, the Eagles will host Fairview (6-6, 2-0 Front Range).
Broomfield 57, Boulder 49
At Boulder H.S.
BROOMFIELD (11-2, 4-0)
Chad Croell 0 0-4 0, Breyton Briggs 0 4-5 4, Sam Foster 5 2-2 15, Brody Wristen 0 0-0 0, Kyle Rynearson 5 1-2 11, Nate Lehnerz 4 1-1 11, Jack Burgesser 4 0-0 10, Michael Georgiton 1 0-0 2, Devin Martinez 2 0-0 4. Totals 21 8-14 57.
BOULDER (9-5, 3-1)
Luke Wilson 4 0-0 11, Davis Kang 2 0-0 6, Sam Kirk 0 4-6 4, Peter Chopra 0 2-2 2, Bill DiScipio 5 2-2 16, Jack Boyle 3 1-3 8, Ben Posthumus 1 0-0 2. Totals 15 9-13 49.
Score by quarters:Broomfield 9 15 12 21 — 57
Boulder 18 8 12 11 — 49
3-point field goals — Broomfield (7): Foster 3, Lehnerz 2, Burgesser 2; Boulder (10): Discipio 4, Wilson 3, Kang 2, Boyle. Total fouls — Broomfield 13, Boulder 16.