BROOMFIELD - Despite Loveland's less-than-stellar record, the Broomfield boys basketball team wasn't expecting a pushover when the Indians visited Friday night.
The Eagles probably weren't expecting things to go down to the final minutes, either, but that's precisely the way it played out. In large thanks to some second-half perimeter heroics by Nate Lehnerz, Broomfield managed to avoid an upset and emerge with a 58-51 Front Range League win.
"That team is a lot better than their record shows," Lehnerz said. "I know they have a lot of talent with the two shooters that they have. They've scored 70 points in each of the last two games, so I felt we did a pretty good job against them."
Lehnerz scored a team-best 14 points for the balanced Eagles (16-5, 7-3), including four 3-pointers in the second half. The last of those served as a dagger, as it helped squelch Loveland's late charge.
Loveland (4-17, 3-7) entered the fourth quarter trailing by 14 but quickly trimmed the Broomfield lead to 50-47. That's when Lehnerz drilled a 3 from the left wing with 2 minutes, 19 seconds to play that finally put away the pesky visitors, who never drew closer.
"We're recovering from two not-very-good seasons, so we have to move on from just being happy to win to be winning the right way," Eagles coach Terrence Dunn said. "We have to do the little things to close the game out and not just be happy with the result on the scoreboard."
Things started inauspiciously for the Eagles, who managed only four points in the opening quarter. Broomfield led 20-19 at the break and appeared to put things out of reach with a stellar third quarter led by Lehnerz, Sam Foster, Jack Burgesser and others.
But Loveland, largely behind the sharpshooting of Ben Newton, made sure this one wasn't going to be a runaway.
"We kind of got lazy in my opinion," Lehnerz said. "Our defensive effort kind of slowed down when we thought we had already won the game."
While that plays to Dunn's point about closing things out in proper fashion, the coach had no complaint with his team's defensive play overall.
"We want to hold people to 50, and they got 51 on that last-second shot," Dunn said. "I was pretty happy with our defensive effort, even though I thought we could clean it up in the fourth quarter."
Foster (10 points) joined Lehnerz in double figures while Burgesser, Kyle Rynearson and reserve Michael Georgiton contributed eight points apiece. The 6-foot-6 Burgesser also recorded a key block of Newton's 3-point attempt from the baseline in the latter stages.
Broomfield kept pace in the crowded league standings and is one of five teams with three or fewer league losses. The Eagles close the regular season next week with league games against Fort Collins and Legacy.
Broomfield 58, Loveland 51
LOVELAND (4-17, 3-7)
Quere 3 5-6 12, Newton 5 0-0 14, Eberhardt 5 3-5 13, Kelley 0 0-0 0, Rembao 1 0-0 3, Dallabetta 0 0-0 0, Svendsen 1 0-0 2, McQuade 3 1-1 7. Totals 18 9-12 51.
BROOMFIELD (16-5, 7-3)
Foster 4 0-0 10, Rynearson 3 2-2 8, Lehnerz 5 0-0 14, Burgesser 4 0-0 8, Croell 2 0-0 4, Briggs 0 0-0 0, Wristen 0 0-0 0, Georgiton 3 2-2 8, Martinez 2 2-3 6. 23 6-7 58.
Score by quarters:Loveland 10 9 12 29 — 51
Broomfield 4 16 25 13 — 58
3-point field goals — Loveland (6): Newton 4, Quere, Rembao; Broomfield (6): Lehnerz 4, Foster 2. Total fouls — Loveland 15, Broomfield 16.
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