BOULDER — Boulder head coach Jack Clarke knew after Friday night's game at Arvada West that his team posted a performance that wasn't indicative of any sort of trend.
After all, the season had been marked with some excellent wins up to and including a 49-43 victory Wednesday against Aurora Central.
But a 41-21 road loss to the Wildcats — yes, you read that right — showed all of the Panthers that they are just as prone to fall completely apart as any other team that fails to take care of the basketball.
Still checking in at 4-3 on the season, Boulder suffered its worst loss of the early slate in large part because of a turnover-heavy stretch between the second and third quarters that further handcuffed BHS' ability to get shots off against the feisty Wildcats.
In all, the Panthers had 16 turnovers but 10 of those came in the frames that sandwiched halftime — 16 minutes in which A-West (5-3) outscored BHS 26-8.
"Credit to Arvada West because they really put the clamps down on us defensively and do a good job playing the gaps, but we've got to be our best version of ourselves to be successful and tonight we were not," Clarke said after the game, which saw Boulder hit just nine of 27 field goal attempts. "We have to be mentally stronger, physically stronger ... we've got a lot to work on and I guess it's a good thing it's just December 15th."
As it has on several occasions, Boulder came out strong early on defense and were able to finish chances on offense in the first 12 minutes of play, holding a small 15-14 lead midway through the second quarter. But that's when the team collectively lost its grasp on the ball, and it became almost an epidemic for the remainder of the frame.
Arvada West closed the half on an 8-0 run and extended that to a 13-0 run with two baskets from 6--foot-2 junior Josh Rogers — the latter a 3-pointer with a foul added to it that brought the score to 27-15 with 5:54 left in the third.
Sophomore Caleb Wehmuller made a field goal for Boulder at the 5:10 mark to make it 27-17, but that would end up being the only points for BHS in the third. Meanwhile, Arvada West moved the ball well and hit on another pair of 3-pointers before the end of the quarter.
Rogers finished with 16 points to lead Arvada West, which mustered just five points in the fourth quarter but still extended its lead.
Wehmuller led Boulder with six points.
"We have to get better leadership from the seniors, and that includes me," said senior starter Cole Peterson.
Arvada West 41, Boulder 21
At Boulder HS
ARVADA WEST (5-3)
Rogers 5 3-5 16, Spiegler 2 0-1 4, Kline 0 0-0 0, Pelon 3 0-0 7, Brewer 4 1-1 5, Conrad 0 0-0 0, Lynch 1 0-1 2, Folks 0 0-0 0, Call 0 3-4 3. Totals 15 7-12.
Davis 0 0-0 0, Riley 1 0-0 2, Peterson 0 0-0 0, Tebo 1 0-0 2, O'Brien 0 0-0 0, Kang 1 0-0 3, Erickson-Dunn 0 0-0 0, Turner 1 2-2 4, Wehmuller 3 0-0 6, Davison 2 0-1 4, Sessions 0 0-0 0. Totals 9 2-3 21.
Score by quarters:Arvada West1012145—41
3-point field goals — Boulder (1): Kang; Arvada West (4): Rogers 3, Pelon.