Jalen Page and the Fairview Knights boys basketball team did their best to avoid a Front Range League flop on Saturday afternoon, despite Broomfield's best efforts to hang around in the Class 5A state tournament's second round.
Having had eight full days for thoughts to brew over a loss to a good Boulder team that denied FHS a perfect record in the FRL, Fairview instead used their off-time wisely for good, hard practices and simply intense inter-squad growth.
It may not have resulted in a fast start at home against the Eagles, but the Knights pulled everything together by about the midway point of the second quarter in what turned out to be a 69-48 win to advance to the Sweet 16 Wednesday.
Page's nine third-quarter points helped Fairview (19-5) extend its lead to double-digits after a 31-24 halftime advantage — Broomfield turnovers also helped the hosts get out in transition too often — and Mark Dolan started hitting buckets on his way to 18 points in the victory.
"It means a lot for us because we expected them to come after us and wanting to beat us on our home floor," Page said after the game, which vaults No. 8-seeded Fairview to another home date against No. 24 seed Cherry Creek. "We just knew we had to stay together, play defense, and we were able to get the win."
The Eagles, who finished 12-13 on the season, entered Saturday fresh off two regular-season ending wins and a road upset at Palmer on Wednesday night. Having scored about 68 points a contest during that stretch, Broomfield's growing offensive prowess was on Page's mind the past couple of days leading up to the game.
So it was also on Fairview coach Patrick Burke's.
"Our kids are competitive and when we got in the gym Monday, they were going full-bore as if we were playing a game," Burke said. "I don't have to push them a whole lot. We had some great practices to get ready, and then when we found out it was Broomfield we started preparing and their focus never shifted. You got to see that today."
The teams really duked out a first half that featured tenacious play, a lot of whistles and few opportunities for either team to get away from the other. But a run of 4 minutes, 30 seconds in which Fairview saw a 11-2 run close out the second quarter provided a bit of that ever-coveted momentum right at the break.
Page then hit a pair of shots early in the third quarter to make it 35-24 in the blink of an eye, Dolan popped a 3-pointer at the 5:30 mark to make it 38-28, and a Page three-point play 25 seconds later got the advantage back to 13 points.
Dolan finished with 15 second-half points. Page finished with 11 points, and Greyson Carter added 13 — the latter's points all coming after the first quarter ended.
"Steals and rebounds, and we got a lot of points (in the third) just forcing them into making bad passes," Page said. "It just benefitted us in the end."
Steven Croell's 21 points came with consistency through three quarters of play in what amounted to his final game as an Eagles player. Unfortunately for the Eagles, no one else finished in double figures and the offense left their half of the floor empty-handed too often in the second half. Charlie Vanderberg's nine points were second-most on the club.
"We've been a little up and down this season, but one thing we never did was give up and I'll always remember that about this team," Croell said. "We came out hard ... but they started hitting shots and we didn't take care of the ball well enough."
"Too many turnovers, not enough points was our issue that second half," added Broomfield coach Terrence Dunn.
Fairview 69, Broomfield 48
At Fairview HS
Vanderberg 3 0-0 9, Georgiton 0 1-2 1, Collins 0 1-2 1, Swenson 2 0-0 5, Croell 6 6-7 21, Briggs 0 0-0 0, Stoecker 4 0-0 8, Purdum 0 0-0 0, Spencer 0 0-0 0, Morales 1 0-0 2, Barday 2 0-0 4, McMahon 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 8-11 48.
Blackburn 2 2-2 6, Monette 2 0-0 4, Atkinson 1 0-2 2, Page 5 3-3 13, Dolan 6 3-5 18, O'Neill 1 2-3 4, Gordon 0 0-0 0, Nichols 3 1-1 8, Carter 5 2-4 13. Williams 0 1-2 1, Pinto 0 0-0 0, Gann 0 0-0 0. Totals 25 14-22 69.
Score by quarters:Broomfield 11 13 14 10 — 48
3-point field goals — Broomfield (7): Croell 3, Vandeberg 3, Swenson, Fairview (5): Dolan 3, Nichols, Carter. Total fouls — Broomfield 21, Fairview 19. Fouled out — Morales. Technical fouls — None.