FORT COLLINS — After a while it just gets old.

Watching Bill Murray in "Groundhog Day" is sort of like watching the Boulder Panthers come oh-so-close this season only to have it all fall apart.

Coach Jack Clarke watched it happen — squandering leads and chances — against the likes of Eaglecrest, Chatfield and Mountain Vista in December. He had hopes that the turning of the calendar would bring something new ... well?

Trailing Fort Collins 32-31 early in the third quarter, the Panthers were on the wrong end of a 19-1 run — that lasted until early in the fourth quarter — and turned a close game into a blowout in favor of the Lambkins. Fort Collins (8-3, 1-0) went on to win the Front Range League opener for both sides 65-45.

"They are pretty good when they get out in transition and I thought we controlled that part of their game in the first half, even with nine turnovers," said Clarke, who knew that number had to be trimmed in half for his team to stay in the game. "They had some run-out rhythm 3's and easy layups.

"They are good, and we just didn't play that well."

It looked like the Panthers might have a chance to go tot he fourth quarter down just 41-32, but a tip-in at the buzzer by Fort Collins' 6-foot-6 Brian Read kept the momentum on the Lambkins side.

Sloppy passes, guys getting trapped and double teamed in the corner and simple mistakes lead to nearly 20 turnovers for the Panthers, turnovers that Fort Collins made them pay for.


"Our talk at halftime was just not to settle or be satisfied, but to keep fighting," said junior Alec Sinner, who lead the Panthers with 10 points off the bench. "They just got the best of us.

"There aren't a lot of positives because we lost this same way a number of times and every one of them is the same thing; turnovers, rebounds and transition. We just got to stop those things and we'll be in a pretty good place the rest of the season."

Boulder's top two scorers Luke Wilson (16.1 per game) and Peter Chopra (15.4) finished with a combined 14 points.

"We have a tough time scoring as it is, but when you take away 20 possession of opportunities, your throwing that away and you can't beat good teams like that," said Clarke, whose team will get back at it on Tuesday night at Legacy. "You can't beat average team like that and Fort Collins is not average."

Fort Collins' three-headed back-court monster of Damien Murillo (15 points), Ricky Orozco (11) and Iseri Palacio (12) made the Lambkins go.

Jon Yunt: or


At Fort Collins

BOULDER (3-6, 0-1)

Alec Sinner 4 1-1 10, Luke Wilson 2 2-2 6, Elijah Edwards 0 1-2 1, Lawson Scalia 1 0-0 2, Ben Davis 1 2-2 5, Davis Kang 1 0-0 3, Teddy Dulchinos 1 0-1 2, Peter Chopra 3 2-2 8, Henry Ryan 2 0-0 5, Tyler Blessing 1 0-0 3, Elliott McKee 0 0-0 0, Trevor Newell 0 0-0 0, Miller Davison 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 8-10 45.

FORT COLLINS (8-3, 1-0)

Damien Murillo 7 0-1 15, Ricky Orozco 5 0-0 11, Ryan Oligmueller 2 1-1 6, Iseri Palacio 4 3-5 12, Jonathan Guay 1 0-0 3, Brian Read 3 0-0 7, Carson Huelle 0 0-0 0, Jake Leone 0 0-0 0, Ty Thomas 0 0-0 0, Jacob Pfaffinger 2 4-4 9, Sam Tiley 1 0-0 2. Totals 25 8-11 65.

Score by quarters:

Boulder 12 14 6 13 — 45

Fort Collins 19 9 15 22 — 65

3-point field goals — Boulder (5): Sinner, Davis, Kang, Ryan, Blessing; Fort Collins (7): Murillo, Orozco, Oligmueller, Palacio, Guay, Read, Pfaffinger. Total fouls — Boulder 16; Fort Collins 16.