LONGMONT — Every game is a learning opportunity for players and coaches alike.
And some games allow more opportunities than others. Take for instance, the first time Longmont played Greeley West this season on Dec. 11, it was a 60-15 game in favor of the Trojans.
"We pressed them at every level last time and they didn't get anything out of it and it was too easy for us," Longmont coach Mike Knaus said. "So we decided to play a half-court defense with some man and some zone and make it a little more competitive."
On Saturday in the last game of the round-robin Longmont Invitational, the Trojans shook off an uninspired first quarter that had them up only 12-11 and eventually blew out the winless Spartans 57-25.
"We were a little flat because we beat them pretty hard early on," Knaus continued, "But I thought we settled down, especially in the second quarter and at halftime and in the second half we played real solid."
Greeley West (0-10) fell behind 8-2 early and appeared to be heading down the same road as the first match-up. But a nifty 9-0 run that was sparked by the Spartans defense and reserve Mariah Geesaman gave Greeley West a stunning 11-10 lead late in the first quarter.
Order was quickly restored in the second quarter and Longmont's go-to players stepped up and took the game over. Sydney Wetterstrom and Madi Gaibler combined to score 12 of the Trojans' 14 points in the quarter tat saw the lead grow to 26-17 by the halftime break.
"I really wasn't too concerned with what the score was," said Knaus, whose team head to the holiday break with a 6-1 record. "Because I knew if our girls would just get it together that we would be okay."
The Longmont defense did the rest. They didn't force a ton of Greeley West turnovers, but they made things difficult for the Spartans to fins any sort of clean look at the rim.
Greeley West made just four field goals in the second half and one of those came at the final buzzer.
Gaibler and Wetterstrom each finished with 17 points to pace Longmont. Kiley Cropper led the Spartans with nine points.
It was the second time in two weeks that Knaus' team played three games in three nights, something he knows hurts now, but will play off huge dividends later in the season.
"We are not in condition enough to play games like we did these last two weeks, we are just not there yet," Knaus said. "Is it good for us? Yes, because it pushes us to work through some things mentally."
Longmont 57, Greeley West 25
GREELEY WEST (0-10)
Iralynn Carmona 0 0-0 0, Sonya Rodriguez 1 0-0 2, Sylvia Rizo 0 0-0 0, Kiley Cropper 4 1-4 9, Abigail Cruz 1 0-0 2, Yvette Terrazas 2 0-0 4, Mariah Geesaman 3 0-0 6, Christi Frierson 1 0-0 2. Totals 12 1-4 25.
Sarah Nichols 2 0-0 5, Sam Wiley 0 0-0 0, Emma Carney 3 0-1 6, Shannon Kindelspire 3 0-0 6, Sydney Fixmer 0 0-0 0, Sam Larson 0 2-4 2, Sydney Wetterstrom 7 3-4 17, Madi Gaibler 7 1-2 17, Hali Walters 2 0-0 4, Kennedy Sheetz 0 0-0 0, Eva D'Epagnier 0 0-0 0, Jenna Moore 0 0-0 0. Totals 24 6-11 57.
Score by quarters:Greeley West 11 6 4 4 — 25
Longmont 12 14 13 18 — 57
3-point field goals — Greeley West (0): None; Longmont (3): Gaibler 2, Nichols. Total fouls — Greeley West 11; Longmont 6.