ERIE — Is there ever a good time for a bad break? Certainly not.
The Erie boys basketball team — specifically starting guard Ethyn Tyson — could tell you after Tuesday night's game against Berthoud that the Tigers suffered a doozy of a bad one to start the 2018 calendar year.
It definitely didn't help Erie that, in the early stages of their Tri-Valley League opener in front of a packed crowd at the Erie gym, Tyson collided with a teammate during play and suffered a broken nose that had him back in street clothes before halftime.
Their starting junior guard had scored six points in the first couple minutes of action, and although the Tigers battled through to the end and showed spurts of hot shooting, one less explosive player on the court held Erie back just enough in a physical game that went to the Spartans, 71-64.
It was everything one could expect from a game with two teams returning to action after a bit of time off the court — with the exception being a torrid scoring pace put up by both teams. All told, however, it was Berthoud's continuous penetrating attack that left Erie back a 4-4 on the year. The Tigers meet Mead next, on Friday night.
"I had seen a lot of film on Berthoud and they have been doing a real good job all season of attacking and playing with a lot of passion, so I kept telling them we needed to be ready," Erie head coach Scott Melin said afterwards. "My guys had a rough night but kept fighting, kept trying to find that spark but just couldn't find it tonight.
"Losing (Tyson) was a really huge swing because he was just playing so well for us early. He brought a lot of energy, and to not be able to put him back in after that happened was big for us."
Both teams appeared to be champing at the bit to get back to action, and for Berthoud it represented a chance to hit the reset button after a 2-7 preseason.
After Erie took an 8-3 lead thanks in large part to Tyson finishing some transition plays early on, Berthoud's Wyatt Stratmeyer and Curtis Peacock began to find seams into the lane and take advantage of some open space.
Erie contested a lot of shots, but Stratmeyer's 19 points in the first half helped Berthoud take a lead into the break at 38-35. Peacock's drive and foul to start the scoring in the third quarter, which made it 41-35, was indicative of the type of play Berthoud strived for the duration of the game. The Spartans did a lot of damage being fouled in the act of shooting, and for the second half attempted 22 free throws and made 15.
After trailing by as much as 11 in the third quarter, Erie managed to reel Berthoud back in with a 11-4 run over the final 4:55 of the frame. Jeffrey Farineau, Erie's leading scorer entering the contest, hit a spin move in the post and had a 3-pointer in the run, and Alex Mathis also hit a 3-pointer to make it 52-48 going to the fourth.
Once again, however, Berthoud scored the first few points of the fourth quarter to stake a 58-48 lead. Jake Lozinski's follow off an offensive rebound made it 54-48 and Stratmeyer scored the final 3 of his game-most 25 points in the next 1:07 to lift BHS to the road win. Peacock finished with 17 points and Lozinski added 10 for the Spartans.
Erie was led by Luke Loy's 16 points, and the Tigers also had Farineau and Jadon Lucero in double figures with 12 and 13 points, respectively.
"We lost focus to start those last two quarters, just getting into more of a one-against-five instead of 5-on-5 ball," Melin said. "But this is a good lesson and the guys will bounce back. We know what we want to get this year."
Berthoud 71, Erie 64
At Erie HS
BERTHOUD (3-7, 1-0)
Loznski 4 2-5 10, Poll 1 0-0 3, Peacock 6 5-6 17, Grimes 1 0-0 2, Yuska 0 2-2 2, Oliver 0 0-0 0, Stratmeyer 6 10-14 25, Buckley 2 3-5 7, Burkett 2 1-2 5. Totals 22 23-34 71.
ERIE (4-4, 0-1)
Larson 2 0-2 4, Tyson 3 0-0 6, Nguyen 2 1-2 6, Meier 0 0-0 0, D. Lucero 1 0-0 2, L. Loy 7 2-3 16, Farineau 5 1-2 12, J. Lucero 4 3-3 13, K. Loy 0 0-0 0, Mathis 1 0-0 3, Yopp 0 2-4 2. Totals 25 9-16 64.
Score by quarters:Berthoud 14 24 14 19 — 71
Erie 16 19 13 16 — 64
3-point field goals — Berthoud(4): Stratmeyer 3, Poll; Erie (5): Fouled out — Buckley, L. Loy, Larson. Technical fouls — Buckley.