FORT COLLINS — The Twin Peaks basketball program has improved leaps and bounds from its inception three years ago.
Victories, against quality teams across the state, have not only opened the eyes of the Class 1A world as to who the Timberwolves are, it has given them reason to believe in themselves as well.
On Tuesday night, coach Cameron Wright's gritty crew faced one of its biggest challenges on its Mile High League slate against Heritage Christian.
The Eagles have been the gold standard of the league, in terms of being able to do it year after year, and a victory on hostile ground would go a long way in furthering what the T-Wolves believe they are capable of.
But while the defensive effort was there all night, Twin Peaks struggled to find any sort of rhythm on offense and watched the Eagles pull away in the second half for a 58-35 victory.
"We had open looks, ones we've hit in other games, that just didn't drop tonight," said Wright, whose team dropped to 7-3 overall and 1-2 inside the Mile High League. "Thirty-five points is far below our season average and I don't think it was anything special they were doing, we were just missing the looks."
Things were clicking early on for the T-Wolves, on both ends of the floor. Their swarming defensive effort had the Eagles befuddled and forced them into seven first quarter turnovers.
On the offensive end, Twin Peaks jumped out to a quick 14-9 lead on the strength of Jake Dawson and David Jarvis.
"The defensive effort was great all the way through tonight and we had three or four guys that gave it everything all the way through," Wright said. "Matt Phillips played an excellent defensive game, and that's against the first-place team in the league."
Heritage Christian (8-1, 3-0) went on a 12-0 run from the end of the first quarter and midway through the second to give themselves a little cushion — albeit not a comfortable one — and went to the break with a 26-21 lead.
Then the turnover bug bit Twin Peaks hard. They turned the ball over 10 times in the third quarter and a quick 10-0 run to start the half turned a close game into on that was a little more lopsided very quickly.
"Silly turnovers. And we talked about it during a couple of timeouts, trying to make the home run passes instead of just running the basic sets," said Wright, whose team has a big rematch with Longmont Christian on the docket a week from Friday. "Disappointing, but the effort was good. I am not disappointed with the effort."
Twin Peaks cut the lead to 41-33 early in the fourth and despite forcing eight Heritage Christian turnovers in the fourth, couldn't claw any closer.
Dawson lead the way for Twin Peaks with 11 points and Jarvis finished with nine.
HERITAGE CHRISTIAN 58, TWIN PEAKS 35
At Heritage Christian
TWIN PEAKS (7-3, 1-2)
Jarvis 3 1-2 9, Wanninger 1 0-0 3, Phillips 1 0-0 2, Quintana 0 2-2 2, Barber 2 0-0 6, Sosa 1 0-2 2, Ellis 0 0-0 0, Dawson 3 5-6 11. Totals 11 8-12 35.
HERITAGE CHRISTIAN (8-1, 3-0)
Friedrich 0 0-0 0, Bruxvoort 1 0-0 2, Case 4 2-2 10, Samuelson 5 3-4 14, A.J. Brown 3 2-6 8, J. Bowsher 6 3-3 16, I. Bowsher 4 0-0 8. Totals 23 10-15 58.
Score by quarters:Twin Peaks 147104—35
3-point field goals — Twin Peaks (5): Jarvis 2, Barber 2, Wanninger; Heritage Christian (2): Samuelson, J. Bowsher. Total fouls — Twin Peaks 16; Heritage Christian 11.