BROOMFIELD -- Hampered by injuries and off nights, Legacy girls basketball's recent stretch has hardly been the stuff of which hoop dreams are made. But Friday night, the defending Class 5A state champions did plenty to halt what was turning out to be their worst skid of the season.
After losing five of its past six outings in Front Range League play, the team came up with one of its most convincing wins of the season
The Lightning admit there is still plenty of work to do after beating Boulder 56-43 in the teams' second meeting of the year. But getting a measure of revenge from the loss Legacy suffered earlier to the Panthers in a big way was exactly the type of high-powered victory the team needed at this point in the season.
"We absolutely did need this," senior forward Caitlyn Smith said. "We've been on a slump the past couple of weeks, so it was good to pick it back up and get a win like this."
Part of the rocky road Legacy (9-10, 5-7) has recently traveled has been due to Smith and her younger sister Courtney's absence. But after sitting out a few games last week to nurse bumps, bruises and pulled wisdom teeth the Smiths were rearing to go against Boulder (11-8, 6-6).
The sisters both finished the night with double-doubles, each holding down one of the halves.
Courtney got the ball rolling for the Lightning, collecting 12 of her game-high 22 points in the opening 16 minutes of play. The sophomore did just enough to keep the surging Panthers at bay. Then her older sibling took over out of halftime. Caitlyn Smith gave her team the lead for good in the third, scoring 12 of her 21 points in the period. The explosion of offense her team was able to produce was a relief to the senior, given its recent troubles.
"We just knew we could get to the inside tonight, because we've played these girls all the time," the elder Smith said. "We just tried to use that to our advantage."
Legacy was successful in part due to Boulder being shorthanded at the post. Courtney Van Bussum was out of uniform and on the bench after the Panther forward suffered a concussion Tuesday at Fossil Ridge. The loss of one of Boulder's top rebounders was a blow, but not one Ron Burgin believed would cost his team the game.
"We missed Courtney, she does everything -- rebounds and defends their big girls," the Boulder coach said. "But I have plenty of talent. We just collapsed."
The coach was pleased with the start of the game with Boulder racing out of the gates. The team scored 19 points in the first behind three 3-pointers by Lena Jaycox. But once the Lightning started to attack the post and Boulder began to miss its shots, Burgin believes his team panicked.
"It's a confidence issue and we need to overcome it," the coach said.
On the other side of the court, Legacy's coach believed his team found something it had been missing.
"We've just need some girls to step up and figure out how to do that," Legacy coach Craig Van Patten said. "And I think tonight we had some of those kids figure that out."
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Legacy 56, Boulder 43
At Legacy HS
BOULDER (11-8, 6-6)
Gregorich 1 3-4 5, Burns 3 2-2 9, Aschbucher 1 0-3 2, Alexander 1 1-2 3, Jaycox 4 6-7 17, Szarmach 3 1-3 7. Totals 13 13-21 43.
LEGACY (9-10, 5-7)
Lopez 0 0-2 0, Neely 1 2-5 4, Ca. Smith 8 5-7 21, Paulson 2 5-10 9, Co. Smith 9 2-3 22. Totals 20 14-25 56.
Score by quarters:
Boulder 19 8 7 9 -- 43
Legacy 16 6 21 13 -- 56
3-point field goals -- Boulder (4): Burns, Jaycox 3; Legacy (2): Co. Smith. Total fouls -- Boulder 19, Legacy 17. Fouled out -- Lopez, Gates. Technical fouls -- none.