BOULDER — Fairview senior Sam Grad has been either injured or sick every time the Knights have matched up against cross-town rival Boulder at the Coors Events Center at the University of Colorado.
So when he finally got a shot to take on the rival Panthers on Friday, Grad made it count. Leading his team with 26 points, including 19 in the second half, the senior forward led his team to a 55-47 win under the bright lights at CU.
It was the Knights' first win in the rivalry series since the 2012-13 season.
"It was really exciting for me because it was my first Boulder game," Grad said. "This is a tough place to play and a lot of fans showed up for both teams but we got it done, and that's what's important. We think we can win out in our conference and finish pretty high so it was a big deal for us to win tonight."
The Knights (8-9, 5-2 Front Range) held the defending Front Range League champion Panthers (9-8, 5-2 Front Range) to 17 points in the first half and led by double digits for nearly the entire game. Sophomore Mark Dolan backed up Grad by scoring 13 points and helped pace the offense with 10 in the first half.
"We've talked a lot about staying focused for 32 minutes and the boys did a really good job down the stretch tonight," Knights head coach Patrick Burke said. "What was really big in the first half was the number of offensive rebounds and put-backs that we were able to get. It's a big rivalry game and everybody gets jacked up. A lot of times the shots aren't going to fall but we did a great job of attacking the glass and we held them to 14 points for most of the first half, which was huge."
Friday's loss put a damper on a week that had so far been fairly kind to the Boulder boys basketball team.
After opening their brutal schedule with a 1-4 record, the Panthers have won eight of their 12 games since. They beat Rocky Mountain by double digits last Friday and edged Greeley West by one point on Tuesday. While the Panthers struggled to cap off a seven-day stretch that would have helped the Panthers build confidence for the season's final push, the Boulder boys got 24 points from senior Luke Wilson but struggled to chip into Fairview's lead in the final two quarters.
The Panthers will play at Monarch on Tuesday. Also Tuesday, Fairview will play at Legacy.
Fairview 55, Boulder 47
At Coors Events Center
FAIRVIEW (8-9, 5-2)
Carson 2 1-2 5, Khadem 0 0-0 0, Grad 7 11-12 26, Pykkonen 0 2-2 2, Dolan 4 3-4 13, Monette 1 3-4 5, Heisner 0 2-2 2, D'Souza 0 0-0 0, Sharp 0 0-0 0, Parson 1 0-2 2. Totals 15 22-28 55.
BOULDER (9-8, 5-2)
Sinner 2 2-2 7, Wilson 7 8-8 24, Peterson 0 0-0 0, Davis 0 0-0 0, Kang 3 1-2 8, Chopra 2 0-0 5, Ryan 0 1-2 1. Totals 14 12-14 47.
Score by quarters:Fairview 13 11 9 22 — 55
Boulder 8 9 8 22 — 47
3-point field goals — Fairview (3): Dolan 2, Grad; Boulder (5): Wilson 2, Kang, Sinner, Chopra. Total fouls — Fairview 17, Boulder 21.