BROOMFIELD — When the calendar turned to January it was unthinkable that the Broomfield and Boulder boys basketball teams would be facing off with a chance to stay atop the 5A Front Range League standings.
Both teams were under .500 and struggling, but both have turned around their season —making Friday's game a big one. They delivered a thrilling finish that emboldened their recent surges.
Boulder rallied from nine down in the final 1 minute, 55 seconds of regulation but a missed jumper in the final seconds allowed host Broomfield to gut out a 58-57 win in overtime on Friday night.
It was the Eagles' fifth straight win and kept them undefeated in league play.
"Those games, that's fun. Win or lose, that's fun," Panthers coach Riley Grabau said. "It's nitty-gritty, who's going to win, fist-to-fist, let's go. See who wins and the ball didn't go our way."
It nearly did after more than 30 minutes of missing short shots and turning the ball over. Broomfield, led by Steve Croell's 19 points, started pulling away. When Jack Stoecker hit a shot with 2:04 left the Eagles (7-7, 4-0) led 51-42.
The Panthers (5-10, 3-1) could have folded but instead rallied, in part because Broomfield went 1-for-6 from the foul line in the last 1:17.
Boulder got within a possession and the Eagles' Mitchell Morales missed a pair of free throws with 14.6 seconds left to leave the door open. Alex Rucker took advantage with a layup to tie it 52-52 with 0.8 seconds left.
"Boulder did a good job of coming at us and attacking," Broomfield coach Terrence Dunn said. "We didn't make our free throws down the stretch. We did a lot of things well; we didn't do that aspect very well."
Giles Schmid's 3-point play with 3:03 left in overtime gave Boulder a 55-54 lead, its first since the first quarter. Grant Swenson gave Broomfield the lead back with a layup off a turnover and his two free throws with 58 seconds left made it a 58-55 game.
"We were prepared for it," Croell said. "We know bend don't break. The last five games have been close and we've been finding ways to win."
Tyler Turner, who led Boulder with 19 points, scored to cut it to one. A turnover gave the Panthers another chance, but Schmid's jumper bounced off the rim in the closing seconds and Broomfield survived.
"We knew that (Turner) was making plays down the stretch so we tried to get the ball out of his hands," Croell said. "We got another kid to take a shot and he missed it."
The loss hasn't soured the Panthers.
"It stinks we lost," Turner said. "We've still got the momentum and we're still coming out surprising teams and beating them."
Broomfield 58, Boulder 57, OT
At Broomfield HS
T. Turner 6 3-5 19, Davison 2 4-6 8, Tanner 3 0-0 6, Rucker 3 0-0 6, Sessions 2 0-0 5, Arthur 1 3-3 5, Schmid 1 1-1 3, Boyle 1 0-0 3, Blessing 1 0-0 2. Totals 20 11-15 57..
Croell 6 3-9 19, Collins 4 2-2 10, Swenson 2 4-5 8, Morales 2 1-3 6, Vanderberg 2 2-4 4, Stoecker 2 0-0 4, Georgiton 1 2-4 4, Purdum 1 1-1 3. Totals 20 13-25 58.
Score by quarters:Boulder 12 7 14 19 5 — 57
3-point field goals - Boulder (6): Turner 4, Session, Boyle; Broomfield (5): Croell 4, Morales. Total Fouls - Boulder 23, Broomfield 18. Fouled out - Davison.