Boulder's Ben Posthumus didn't score a single point in Tuesday's showdown with rival Fairview, but the 6-foot-6 senior was a big reason why the Panthers were able to walk out of the Coors Event Center with a hard-fought 39-35 victory.
Posthumus was tasked with slowing down Frank Ryder, the Knights' 6-10 standout who already has a scholarship to the University of San Diego in his back pocket. And while Ryder finished with a team-best 14 points, he had to work extremely hard for all of those points and never found a rhythm against the Panthers.
Posthumus bodied up on Ryder as soon as he crossed into the offensive end, and then would get a lot of help from his teammates anytime the ball would come into post.
"That was the game plan," said Posthumus, who only took one shot and grabbed a pair of rebounds. "I had to work early and try to force him out of the post, but if he caught it we had either a double- or triple-team coming.
"We were going to make the other guys beat us, if they could do that. And I guess they couldn't."
It's a strategy most of Fairview's opponents employ, but few were as successful as Boulder was Tuesday Knight. Ryder, who has been averaging 25 points per game over the previous six contests, missed his first three shots which seemed to be from a combination of the Panthers defense and the cavernous shooting background of the Coors Event Center.
There was no doubt about Ryder's fourth attempt, however, as he took a pass down low, spun past a defender and threw down a thunderous two-handed dunk while being fouled by Peter Chopra.
"They did a pretty good job, but everyone's been doing that to me," Ryder said about the double-and triple-teams. "It is a lot of pressure with all the fans and everything, but a basketball hoops a basketball hoop. We have to hit shots."
Ryder did heat up for awhile in the second and third quarters, grabbing rebounds and blocking shots. His split a pair of defenders to score a bucket that gave Fairview a 25-22 lead midway through the third, but Boulder took over from there.
"We were frustrating him, you could see it in his body language," Posthumus said. "It's a rivalry game. It feels good."
"(Ben) competed his butt off," Boulder coach Jack Clarke said. "It was a team defensive effort and it started with Ben."
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