LONGMONT -- The Longmont girls basketball players teased 5-foot-11 freshman forward Sydney Wetterstrom for being clumsy at the beginning of the season. They called the athletic volleyball standout "Raffey," playfully comparing her to a giraffe.
But the way she's growing more comfortable this season and the offense is incorporating her more, Wetterstrom may shed the nickname for one more fearsome before her sophomore year.
"I've just been working on controlling my body and going up strong," Wetterstrom said. "That's worked well. I'm getting more confidence. Ever since I started I've felt like I was a part of the team. I just try to do well, try to do my best and don't really worry if I miss a really simple shot."
Wetterstrom, who was coming off a previous career high 14 points against Greeley Central, said she wasn't trying to make things happen, but rather felt she found a flow within the rhythm of the game. If that's been her plan of late, it's been working to the tune of a 12.5 points-per-game average over the Trojans' last four games.
Playing through a shoulder injury, junior point guard Anna Schell was aggressive early in the game and set the tempo for the Trojans attack. After scoring six points in the first quarter, she led Longmont (10-6, 4-4) with five assists.
"We all played so well as a team and distributed the ball. Everyone was doing it, not just myself," Schell said of the Trojans, who had 19 assists as a team. "All of us had assists. They were box-and-1ing my sister (Kathryn Schell) so I was open a lot."
Quiet through the Trojans' 22-0 run to open the game, Kathryn Schell drained two of four 3-point attempts and scored 13 points in the second half. While she did, 6-foot-1 senior forward Ella Fallon did the dirty work.
Fallon finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds, including five offensive boards, and went 8 for 10 at the free-throw line.
"My role is to play hard defense, attack the boards and look for that open shooter to get that assist," Fallon said. "I'm gonna attack on offense, too, and when I get to the line I'm confident when I take those free throws."
The Trojans, who held the Cougars to single digits in each quarter and forced 28 turnovers, had lost three straight games before opening the month of February with a 55-51 win over Greeley Central.
The Cougars have not won a game (0-7) since beating Eagle Ridge Academy (Class 3A) on Jan. 12. On Tuesday, senior guard Jacqui Sigg led the team with six points and junior guard Callie Hensen scored five.
"We've just been trying to maintain a positive attitude and go into every game with that in mind," senior guard Deyja Enriquez said. "There's really no win or lose going into a game. We just kind of go in knowing that if we work hard and play as a team, we'll get results out of it."
Of the Trojans' five wins during the 2011-12 season, two were against Niwot. They beat the Cougars 60-45 on Jan. 10 and 51-26 on Feb. 6.
Now a week into the second round of the Northern Conference schedule, the Cougars and Trojans were originally scheduled to meet for the first time on Jan. 11. But Niwot High School was closed and the game was canceled because of a bomb threat. That game has been rescheduled for Feb. 23 at Niwot High School.
Things will get quite a bit tougher for the Trojans as they take on the top-ranked Broomfield Eagles on Friday in Broomfield. The Cougars will go up against Silver Creek on Friday.
Follow Brad on Twitter: @BradCochi
Longmont 71, Niwot 27
At Longmont HS
NIWOT (3-14, 0-8)
Hensen 1 3-4 5, Yie 0 0-6 0, Sarosi 0 0-0 0, Larson 1 0-0 2, Albert 2 0-0 4, Calvert 2 0-2 4, Sigg 2 2-3 6, Enriquez 1 2-2 4, Pilewskie 0 0-2 0, Dunnell 1 0-0 2, DiScipio 0 0-0 0. Totals 10 7-19 27.
LONGMONT (10-6, 4-4)
Fallon 3 8-10 14, Carney 0 0-0 0, Wetterstrom 8 2-3 18, Gaibler 0 0-0 0, Cox 0 0-0 0, K. Schell 7 0-1 16, A. Schell 4 2-4 10, McKee 1 0-2 2, Tulenko 1 0-0 2, Pane 0 0-0 0, Johnson 2 0-0 4, Hamm 1 0-3 2, Cropp 0 1-2 1. Totals 27 13-25 71.
Score by quarters:
Niwot 2 9 8 8 -- 27
Longmont 22 16 18 15 -- 71
3-point field goals -- Niwot (0): None; Longmont (2): K. Schell 2. Total fouls -- Niwot 13, Longmont 17. Fouled out -- Wetterstrom. Technical fouls -- None.