Longmont’s Kolton Bachman drives to the hoop in the Trojans’ Great 8 victory over Mead last Saturday.
Longmont's Kolton Bachman drives to the hoop in the Trojans' Great 8 victory over Mead last Saturday. (Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer)

The moment is never too big for Longmont's Kolton Bachman.

And no one is more aware of that the Trojans' opponent in Friday's Class 4A Final Four — Valor Christian.

Bachman, a 6-foot-2 senior who does a lot of the dirty work for Longmont (25-1) when he's on the court, has shown a knack for coming up big for the Trojans late in games, whether it's grabbing a big rebound, getting a defensive stop or knocking down a crucial shot.

Some of those shots are game-winners, including a driving layup with a defender draped all over him with 3.9 seconds remaining in last season's Great 8 that lifted Longmont to a 47-46 victory over the aforementioned Eagles of Valor.

"He's a money player," Trojans coach Jeff Kloster said of Bachman. "He knows when the time is right."

Bachman was huge down the stretch in Longmont's regional final win over Mead last Saturday, providing a boost when the Trojans were trying to hold off the Mavericks comeback attempt.

After missing his first five shots of the contest, Bachman hit three straight in the second half, all on drives through the heart of the Mead defense. He scored seven of his nine points in the fourth, and had a huge block on a 3-point attempt just as the Mavericks were trying to build some momentum.

"My teammates were encouraging me to be aggressive and keep attacking the basket," said Bachman, who averages 13 points and 5.4 rebounds a game. "Not every night is going to be my night, and I'm fine with that. It's just about the 'W.'"


That's also the mindset of Longmont's Justinian Jessup, a 6-5 swingman who averages 18.2 points per game and will play college ball at Boise State. Jessup is unquestionably one of the most top players in the state, and has the talent to dominant stretches when needed.

With only a possible two games left in his stellar prep career, his high school coach would like to see him even more aggressive this weekend.

"He can take over the game, he has that ability," Kloster said. "I love Justinian because his goal always is to make everyone else around him better. But there are times when we're going to need him have the ball in his hands and get to the free throw line."

In Valor Christian (24-2), Longmont is facing a high octane squad that puts up more than 70 points a game and has scored 80 or more seven times. The Eagles have three players averaging in double figures, led by Jalen Sanders' 16.8 per game, and have hit 174 3-pointers this season.

Valor Christian advanced to the Final Four by outlasting 73-69 last Saturday behind Sanders' 27 points.

Longmont and Valor Christian face each other at 5:30 p.m. Friday at the Coors Event Center. The winner will play the winner of Pueblo West-Vista Ridge in Saturday's 4A final at 6:30 p.m.

Feel free to contact me with questions, suggestions or story ideas at 303-473-1315 or rosaj@dailycamera.com