GREELEY — For the past couple of seasons, the current crop of Northridge boys basketball players have taken their lumps against Longmont.
On Friday night the Grizzlies returned the favor to the Trojans.
In an battle for early bragging rights in the Northern League, Northridge pulled away from Longmont in the third quarter and scored a lopsided 77-54 win to improve to 5-0 in the league.
"(Northridge is) an outstanding team that has a lot of experience, and they've been together since their sophomore year and endured a lot of growing pains," said Longmont coach Jeff Kloster, whose team won two games against the Grizzlies last year by an average of 23.5 points.
"They went against some of our better teams and you could tell that they wanted a little payback."
It looked early on as though defense was going to be the name of the game for both sides. Northridge's full-court press was causing the Trojans fits, but it wasn't translating to points.
Longmont was equally stingy against a Grizzlies group that has a propensity to score at will.
The game went to the break with Northridge holding a 36-24, but it felt like the Trojans had done their part to keep the Grizzlies within range and a few adjustments in the locker room and they would be just fine.
But a 24-7 third quarter stampede by Northridge, that saw the Grizzlies defensive specialist Kaylor Werner go off for six of his 14 points, turned a tight affair into a blowout.
"The thing we have to take from this, and keep in mind we don't usually get beat that bad, is that we got beat by turnovers, not taking care of the ball and not trusting our system," said Kloster, whose team will have a chance to get back on the right path next week against Mountain View, Thompson Valley and Centaurus.
"Once we trusted the system in the second half, the press didn't give us ny trouble, but they made plays over the top that would break your back and give you that frustrating feeling."
The Trojans, who were lead by Tol Mugunga's 13 points, will hopefully take a little momentum into their next game against the Grizzlies on Feb. 13 after playing a solid fourth quarter. Against Northridge's starting rotation, the Trojans were able to win the final quarter 23-17.
"We are a work in progress and we are not going to feel sorry for ourselves," Kloster said. "We are going to continue to work hard and continue to get better."
Oakley Dehning chipped in 11 points for Longmont and leading scorer Luke Johnson was limited to 10.
Oscar Maldonado led all scorers with 21 for Northridge and both Werner and Elijah Llamas had 14 for the Grizzlies.
NORTHRIDGE 77, LONGMONT 54
LONGMONT (6-6, 3-2)
Luke Johnson 4 1-3 10, Tol Mugunga 6 1-2 13, Dallas Dye 0 0-0 0, Oakley Dehning 3 3-6 11, Caden Dion 2 2-2 6, Beck Page 1 2-2 5, Hayden Mosness 0 0-0 0, Calvin Seamons 0 0-0 0, Alec Thompson 3 1-2 7, Jarod Fixmer 1 0-0 2. Totals 20 10-17 54.
NORTHRIDGE (11-3, 5-0)
Elijah Llamas 5 1-2 14, Nykolas Lange 1 1-2 4, Andrew Vigil 2 0-0 4, Kaylor Werner 7 0-1 14, Brexton Cone 1 0-0 3, Devin Smith 1 1-2 3, Josh Stover 1 2-2 4, Avery Palma 3 4-6 10, Oscar Maldonado 8 3-3 21. Totals 29 12-18 77.
Score by quarters:Longmont 5 19 7 23 — 54
Northridge 12 24 24 17 — 77
3-point field goals — Longmont (4): Dehning 2, Johnson, Page; Northridge (7): Llamas 3, Maldonado 2, Lange, Cone. Total fouls — Longmont 15; Northridge 18.