LONGMONT — Just a buzzer-beater by the No. 1 team in the state away from an undefeated record, the Longmont boys basketball team is off to a strong start through the first week of the 2017-18 season.
On Tuesday, the Trojans defeated Discovery Canyon (3-1) to open the season and lost on a last-second shot to top-ranked Golden (5-1) in overtime on Thursday night. On Saturday, the Longmont boys capped off the week with a 43-40 win over D'Evelyn at home.
Themselves ranked No. 9 in 4A by the CHSAANow.com preseason poll, the Trojans (2-1) walked away from their latest win confident in their ability to grind out games against solid opponents.
"We started a little slow because we had a really tough overtime game on Thursday night against Golden," Trojans guard Brady Renck said. "This one means a lot because it shows that we can really win at the free-throw line and win by our fundamentals and our effort. We didn't have a great shooting performance today but especially on our home court, we've got to find a way to get these types of wins."
The D'Evelyn Jaguars (2-4) reached last season's Great 8 while the Trojans lost to Golden in the second round. The Jaguars also defeated the Trojans 69-55 during last winter's regular season. In Saturday's rematch, 26 percent of the total scoring came at the free-throw line, where the Trojans gained an advantage by outscoring the Jaguars 13-10. Each team made just five field goals in the second half.
Longmont also led the entire game until Jaguars senior Charles Dinegar hit a pair of free throws to give the Jaguars a 36-35 lead with 4 minutes, 8 seconds left in the game. But Longmont sophomore Beck Page responded by hitting a pair of his own at the other end to put the Trojans back up. With his team clinging to a narrow lead late in the game and struggling to find a game-clinching field goal, Longmont sophomore Dallas Dye hit a layup to put the Trojans up four with 47 seconds left.
"In the summer, we beat them by a good margin so it was kind of a shock in the beginning because they seemed to change some things up," said Trojans junior Calvin Seamons, who turned 17 on Saturday. "But we struggled through and made it to the end. So far, I'm really impressed with how we're doing. If we keep getting better, I think we can make a deep run in the playoffs."
Though Dinegar and Cole Clifton combined for 33 points, the Trojans held the Jaguars well below their season scoring average of 57.8 points a game. Senior point guard Luke Johnson led Longmont with 16 points and Renck was next with eight.
The Trojans will host Centaurus (3-1) on Tuesday. The Warriors are off to a good start of their own after going 4-19 last season.
Longmont 43, D'Evelyn 40
At Longmont H.S.
Dinegar 5 6-8 17, Mac 1 0-0 2, Hansen 0 0-0 0, Jones 0 0-0 0, Brady 1 0-0 3, Pennington 0 0-0 0, Sampson 0 0-0 0, Clifton 6 2-2 16, Willis 0 2-2 2. Totals 13 10-12 40.
Johnson 4 7-8 16, Renck 3 1-2 8, Elkins 1 0-0 2, Dye 2 2-2 6, Dehning 0 1-2 1, Dion 0 0-0 0, Rulon 0 0-2 0, Page 1 2-2 5, Seamons 2 0-0 5. Totals 13 13-18 43.
Score by quarters:D'Evelyn 912109—40
3-point field goals — D'Evelyn (4): Clifton 2, Dinegar, Brady; Longmont (4): Johnson, Renck, Page, Seamons. Total fouls — D'Evelyn 15, Longmont 14.