LONGMONT — More than a year has passed since the Longmont boys basketball team's most recent loss, which came in their final regular-season game of the 2017-18 season on Feb. 17 of last year.
Looking back, head coach Jeff Kloster believes that loss may have catalyzed last winter's Class 4A champion Trojans' determination to remain focused every single night of their postseason run until the trophy was theirs.
This year's Trojans ended an undefeated regular season with an overtime victory over Greeley Central, a close game that reminded them of last season's final regular season game. With a first-round bye in this season's playoffs, the defending Class 4A champions also hadn't played a game in more than a week prior to Saturday afternoon's second-round playoff game against No. 34 Discovery Canyon.
Having to wait 10 days to face another opponent, the No. 2-seed Trojans' eagerness to get going with this postseason's would-be title defense showed during a 78-48 victory on the Longmont High floor Saturday.
"When we have close games like that and we win, it definitely picks us up as a team and gives us that drive to play even better each game as we push through the playoffs," Trojans junior Dallas Dye said. "We also decided in our locker room that we weren't going to take a (loss) on our home court all season. We made it a priority to defend our home floor and that's what we did tonight."
Close games can be motivating for teams like Longmont that haven't had many.
In 24 games this season, the Trojans (24-0) have won by an average margin of victory of 28.5 points. In Saturday's game, the Trojans led the Thunder (11-14) by just five points after one quarter but pushed their lead to 38-22 by halftime.
By the end of the game, the Trojans had four players score in double figures. Beck Page (14.25 ppg) and Calvin Seamons (13 ppg) led with 15 apiece, Ryan Schneider scored 13 and Dye added 12. Further balancing out the scoring sheet, Oakley Dehning scored nine points and Brady Renck (11.7 ppg) scored eight.
"That's just indicative of the unselfishness of this team and how they just want to share the basketball," Kloster said. "They want to make sure everyone gets involved. It's never, 'It's my turn.' It's always, 'If he's got a better shot, we're going to get him the ball and let's go.'
"Everything started at the defensive end with excellent defensive intensity from the start of the game. The greatest compliment I can give them is that they were relentless with their hustle. They played so hard and I'm excited that I get to spend another few days with these young men."
Longmont moves on to face No. 15 Pueblo Central (15-9) on Wednesday.
Longmont 78, Discovery Canyon 48
At Longmont H.S.
DISCOVERY CANYON (11-14)
Lattanzi 0 0-0 0, Call 1 1-2 1, Lucero 0 0-0 0, Whisman 7 2-4 19, B. Clawson 0 0-0 0, Hall 1 0-0 2, Surface 1 0-2 2, Pruitt 0 0-0 0, Pasvogel 0 0-0 0, G. Clawson 3 1-3 7, Smith 2 0-0 5, Anderson 5 1-1 12. Totals 19 5-12 48.
Nowells 0 0-0 0, Schneider 3 6-7 13, Yazzie 0 0-0 0, Renck 4 0-0 8, Elkins 1 -1 2, Dye 6 0-0 12, Dehning 4 1-1 9, Rulon 0 0-0 0, Sprecher 1 2-2 4, Page 6 1-2 15, Seamons 7 0-0 15, Kurjak 0 0-0 0. Totals 32 10-13 78.
Score by quarters:Discovery Canyon 13 9 10 16 — 48
3-point field goals — Discovery Canyon (5): Whisman 3, Smith, Anderson; Longmont (4): Page 2, Seamons, Schneider. Total fouls — Discovery Canyon 13, Longmont 12.