LONGMONT — The month of February is when the basketball season truly becomes a grind.

Legs are tired, injuries are piling up and rescheduled games make for brutal stretches. Playoff, conference and state title contenders are clawing for precious wins to separate themselves. For the Longmont boys basketball team, the first two weeks of this pivotal month include a stretch of five games in seven days.

On Tuesday, the fourth of those five games ended with a 68-44 win over Mountain View.

"We've got five games in seven days and as a coach, you've got to be aware of that," Longmont head coach Jeff Kloster said. "The well-being of the players is something we really stress and thank God we've got a really talented and deep team. Right now, we're trying to keep that edge and prove ourselves in each next outing."

Ranked second in the Colorado AP poll, the Trojans' approach of late appears to be go hard early so they can rest late. The Trojans starters did not play in the fourth quarter of a 70-35 win over Northridge (8-12, 3-8 Northern) on Monday night, a game in which they held the Grizzlies to four points in the first quarter.

Against the Mountain Lions (11-8, 7-3 Northern), a team that came in averaging 59.9 points per game, the Northern League-leading Trojans (19-1, 11-0 Northern) again gave up only four first-quarter points. By halftime, the Trojans led 26-14.

"When we pick up our intensity it really feels like no one can compete with us," senior guard David Speidel said. "What we want to do every game is to come out strong defensively and play hard the whole game. When we set the tone early on defense, our offense will come after that."


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Mountain View senior Jose Orrantia entered the game 11th in Class 4A with an 18.7-point-per-game average. He scored a game-high 18 points but only five Mountain Lions scored and no other player had more than four points going into the fourth quarter.

Justinian Jessup (18.5 ppg), who is ninth in 4A in scoring average, and senior Kolton Bachman each led the Trojans with 14 points. Senior Ryan Rulon scored 12 points and seven other Trojans combined for the final 28 points.

Longmont's current gauntlet will end in a road tilt with Thompson Valley (13-6, 8-2 Northern) in Loveland on Thursday. With three games left to play and Thompson Valley second in the Northern League, a win Thursday could all but lock up a second consecutive conference title for the Trojans.

"Thompson Valley is a well-coached, talented team so we're going to have to bring our A-game," Kloster said. "We know that. We just need to make sure we take that next step forward."

Brad Cochi: cochib@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/BradCochi

 

Longmont 68, Mountain View 44

At Longmont H.S.

MOUNTAIN VIEW (11-8, 7-3)

Jose Orrantia 8 1-2 18, Jeremiah Grelock 2 0-0 6, Shane Shadowen 0 0-0 0, Braxton Butcher 1 0-0 3, Dylon Norsen 0 3-4 3, Kaleb Cahalen 3 0-0 8, Dennis Landry 2 1-2 6, Brian Flohr 0 0-0 0, Nick Messinger 0 0-0 0, Ivan Thomas 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 5-8 44.

LONGMONT (19-1, 11-0)

Eli Sullivan 1 0-0 2, Kole Earhart 2 0-0 4, Justinian Jessup 7 0-0 14, David Speidel 2 0-0 5, Cooper Rothe 0 2-2 2, Kolton Bachman 6 2-5 14, Ryan Rulon 4 1-2 12, Tol Mugunga 1 0-0 2, Caden Dion 0 0-0 0, Kevin Mitchell 3 3-4 9, Joe Riss 1 2-2 4, Oakley Dehning 0 0-0 0, Evan Rayl 0 0-0 0. Totals 27 10-15 68.

Score by quarters:

Mountain View 4 10 10 20 — 44

Longmont 10 16 20 22 — 68

3-point field goals — Mountain View (7): Greylock 2, Cahalen 2, Landry, Butcher, Orrantia; Longmont (4): Rulon 3, Speidel. Total fouls — Mountain View 15, Longmont 14. Fouled out — Orrantia.