BOULDER — Both in their record on paper and in their minds, the Shining Mountain Waldorf boys basketball players are in a good place.
Saturday night's 64-47 victory over Heritage Christian was the Lions' ninth straight win. After the team's latest high-scoring triumph, senior guard Luke Feigal credited the Lions' recent hot streak as much to the player's cerebral approach to the game as their obvious skill on the court.
"I love the way we're playing right now," Feigal said. "What we say before every game is that we're going in there to compete. We're not coming here to win, we're here to compete. If you show up to win, you're too focused on the ball going in the hoop and other things you can't always control.
"Our coach's dad is a sports psychologist and he preaches to us just to focus on the things we can control like hustle, defense, boxing out, stuff like that. That's something that we've implemented and it's made a huge impact this season."
With 12 points, Feigal was one of three players to score in double figures for the Lions (11-2, 4-0 5280 League) in Saturday's home game. Teammates Nathan Fairmont and Leo Mason each scored 12 points, while Gopal Zubaedi and Jordan Cherin each scored nine.
The balanced scoring and holding the visiting Eagles (6-7, 3-5 Mile High League) below their 54.2-point-per-game average was great. What Feigal and the Lions were most proud of was their composure and ability to not let a game-long press knock them out of their rhythm.
"They were trying to speed us up with the press but for the most part we were able to slow it down when we needed to," Feigal said. "It was a really hard-fought game and it took a lot of toughness to hold them off."
The Lions held the Eagles to just nine points in the second quarter and led by eight at halftime. Clamping down on defense, they methodically built their lead further in the second.
"Our rotation was great tonight and we really locked in on defense," Lions head coach Sean Lynch said. "When we play great defense, it really helps our offense because we can force some turnovers and get run-outs. I feel great because we're playing better with each game and the team is in a great place, so I feel really confident going down the home stretch."
With six games left, the Lions' home stretch begins with Community Christian (8-5, 5-0 5280 League) on Tuesday. Shining Mountain and Community Christian are currently tied for the 5280 League lead.
Shining Mountain 64, Heritage Christian 47
At Shining Mountain Waldorf
HERITAGE CHRISTIAN (6-7)
Wickstrom 3 0-0 7, Friedrich 0 1-3 1, Lee 2 1-1 6, Gilliland 7 1-1 18, Richard 0 1-2 1, Lesondak 3 4-10 10, Bowsher 2 0-0 4. Totals 17 8-17 47.
SHINING MOUNTAIN (11-2)
Hill 2 0-0 4, Feigal 5 0-2 12, Fairmont 5 3-5 13, Edwards 2 0-0 5, Mason 4 0-0 12, Cherin 3 3-4 9, Zubaedi 3 3-4 9. Totals 24 11-17 64.
Score by quarters:Heritage Christian 16 9 12 10 — 47
Shining Mountain 19 14 15 16 — 64
3-point field goals — Heritage Christian (5): Gilliland 3, Lee, Wickstrom; Shining Mountain (5): Feigal 2, Mason 2, Edwards. Total fouls — Heritage Christian 19, Shining Mountain 13.