LAFAYETTE — Defending with the discipline of a meticulously-choreographed dance number, Longmont jumped passing lanes and swiftly clogged driving lanes in building a 19-point lead early in the third quarter Tuesday night.
Throw in some offensive sparks — and score it a perfect 20-0 for the Trojans.
At the direction of longtime coach Jeff Kloster, the Trojans clinched the 4A Northern League title as they held down Centaurus — with perhaps the exception of a 26-point performance from junior standout Owen Koonce — and won 65-51 for their 25th straight victory dating back to last season's state title run.
Calvin Seamons had 18 points and Brady Renck showed off a number of dynamic finishes at the rim en route to 15. Beck Page added 14 for Longmont (11-0 in league), which came into the week ranked second in the CHSAANow.com polls behind fellow-undefeated power Lewis-Palmer — the team they beat on a late 3 by Oakley Dehning in last year's 4A championship game.
Afterward, Kloster stayed in coaching mode while going over a few things with Seamons. The seniors on the team then posed for a quick picture in what was a tame league title celebration.
"Coming off a state championship, 20-0 is nice but we know there is an end goal," Renck said. "One of them was tonight with conference champs and another is state champs, so we have a lot of unfinished business."
Longmont slid from gap to gap defensively as if the court had been freshly buttered, fueling a 10-point halftime lead and a 19-point advantage after a 9-0 run early in the third.
In a quick stretch in the second quarter alone, Renck drew a charge with help defense in the backcourt, and moments later Jaydon Elkins picked off a pass under the Centaurus hoop and turned it into an easy lay-in.
The Warriors (12-7, 7-3) closed the deficit to 10 at the end of the third, but the Longmont defense hunkered down again in building another 19-point lead, 60-41, with 3:04 remaining.
"Everything starts for us at the defensive end," Kloster said. "What we do is we try to make sure every possession, the opponents really have to work and work hard."
Koonce carried his team on the offensive end most of the night. Averaging a team-best 18.6 points per game coming into the night, Koonce hit one of his six field goals in the first half to help the Warriors pull within 31-21 at the break. He then scored seven straight points as part of a 9-0 spurt to help Centaurus get within 40-30 late in the third.
"He's one of the best juniors in the state," Kloster said. "He elevates and does a great job getting his shot off. We just tip our hat. He had a great game because he's a great player."
On Friday, Centaurus will host Greeley Central and Longmont will face Mountain View. The Trojans have three games remaining on their schedule as they chase a top seed in the state playoffs and a chance at an undefeated regular season.
In Longmont's mind, though, perfection is in the details.
"We always got to have the same mindset no matter if we're up 20 or 30, or down by 40," Seamons said. "We just got to stay strong and that's why (Kloster) is always coaching us. Just keep that same mentality."
Brent W. New: firstname.lastname@example.org and @brentwnew
Longmont 65, Centaurus 51
At Centaurus HS
LONGMONT (20-0, 11-0)
Nowelles 0 0-0 0, Schneider 1 0-2 2, Yazzie 0 0-0 0, Renck 6 2-2 15, Nunez 0 0-0 0, Elkins 2 0-0 4, Dye 3 0-0 6, Dehning 1 4-5 6, Rulon 0 0-0 0, Page 4 3-6 14, Sprecher 0 0-0 0, Seamons 7 4-4 18, Kurjak 0 0-0 0. Team 24 13-19 65.
CENTAURUS (12-7, 7-3)
Sugianto 0 3-4 3, Walker 0 0-0 0, Rubin 1 0-0 3, Godard 1 0-0 3, Vaver 3 0-2 7, Hill 0 0-0 0, Koonce 10 3-3 26, Burgess 0 0-0 0, Pauletto 0 0-0 0, Lynch 1 1-2 3, Totel 3 0-0 6, Swain 0 0-0 0. Team 19 7-11 51.
Score by quarters:Longmont 18 13 13 21 — 65
3-point field goals — Longmont (4): Page 3, Renck 1; Centaurus (6): Koontz 3, Godard, Rubin, Vaver. Total fouls — Longmont 13, Centaurus 17. Fouled out — No players fouled out. Technical fouls — No technical fouls.