The Fairview girls basketball team had a big task -- in a couple of different respects -- Thursday night in facing Horizon.
First, there was the issue of playing the ninth-ranked team in the state in Class 5A. Then there was the formidable matter of trying to deal with Horizon's physically imposing 1-2 inside punch of sisters Kaylie and Alyssa Rader, who are both tall and large.
With 6-foot-4 senior Kaylie scoring 20 points and 6-1 sophomore Alyssa adding eight, visiting Horizon fended off the Knights 61-51.
And it wasn't just the Raders' scoring that made the game a challenge. Their presence inside defensively created problems for Fairview as the Knights hit just 30 percent of their field goal attempts.
"(Kaylie Rader) is a good player," said FHS' Georgina Ryder, who did battle with her most of the night. "It takes a lot of energy to box her out. Our lesson was just to play behind her the whole game -- that's all we could do -- and our guards worked hard to double down. We did the best we could, but they're really good players."
Ryder was formidable in her own right, scoring a team-high 18 points, but Fairview (5-4, 1-1 in the Front Range League) still suffered its third loss to a ranked team this season. The Knights have also fallen to No. 5 Palmer and No. 8 Denver East.
"At the end of the day it's still a loss but we're battle-tested and we've been in situations that will help us out later on down the line," said FHS coach Andre Goldberg, who took over the team early in the season when Rod Beauchamp became Broomfield athletic director. "We've got to get better every day and play our best basketball at the end of the season."
The Knights didn't lead after being up 4-2, but in both the second and third quarters they surged within three points, only to have Horizon (5-4, 2-0) make a run of its own.
After trailing by double digits, Fairview made it a 20-17 with 3:35 left in the half. But the Hawks responded with a 9-1 stretch going into halftime, with Kaylie Rader scoring four of those points.
Then in the third period after being down by 11, a hoop by Annika Lai trimmed Horizon's advantage to 37-34, but the Hawks turned back the threat with a 14-3 run as Kaylie Rader tallied six of those 14 for HHS.
"Fairview made a nice run in the third quarter, but I was impressed with how we handled it and made a nice little run ourselves," said Horizon coach Greg Hahn, whose Hawks went to the 5A Sweet 16 last season.
"Sometimes when you're down so often, you do so much to try to fight back and you just run out of steam a little bit," Goldberg said.
And it didn't help that all of Fairview's reserves went scoreless on Thursday. Plus, the Knights' top scorer for the season, Sarah Kaufman, was held to three points in the first half before finishing with 13. Kaufman left the game late in some pain -- Goldberg said her "knee went out from under her" -- but the coach added that he thinks she'll be fine.
Fairview will return to action Tuesday when it hosts Legacy.
HORIZON 61, FAIRVIEW 51
At Fairview HS
HORIZON (5-4, 2-0)
Jimenez 3 1-2 8, A. Rader 4 0-0 8, Paplow 1 4-4 6, Bennett 2 0-0 4, K. Rader 8 4-4 20, Rasmussen 5 4-5 14, Newgent 0 0-0 0, Calvo 0 1-2 1. Totals 23 14-17 61.
FAIRVIEW (5-4, 1-1)
Kuosman 2 3-3 8, Lai 3 2-5 8, Davenport 1 2-3 4, Ryder 6 6-6 18, Kaufman 3 5-5 13, Breakell 0 0-0 0, Wolf 0 0-0 0, McCambridge 0 0-0 0, McKee 0 0-0 0. Totals 15 18-22 51.
Score by quarters:
Horizon 14 15 15 17 -- 61
Fairview 6 12 17 16 -- 51
3-point field goals -- Horizon (1): Jimenez; Fairview (3): Kaufman 2, Kuosman. Total fouls -- Horizon 18, Fairview 14. Fouled out -- none. Technical fouls -- none.