LONGMONT — It would have been easy to dismiss the Centaurus Warriors girls' 6-0 start to the season, looking at their schedule and seeing the quality of competition they had beaten.
It would have been a little bit easier to do so after the four minutes of Tuesday's Northern League opener at No. 4 Longmont when they were down 14-0.
But both Trojans coach Mike Knaus and his girls knew better. They had done their scouting of the Warriors and their ability to put points on the board and do so in a rapid fashion.
"When I went and scouted them, I saw that they shot the ball extremely well and we even talked about, but in that second quarter, they shot it," said Knaus, who saw his team early lead evaporate before halftime. "It wasn't just one girl, it was three or four of them shooting it really well."
Centaurus, which was beaten by 20 both times last season against Longmont, went to the fourth quarter tied 41-41, but ran out of gas late and watched the Trojans pull away for a 58-51 win to open Northern League play.
"I tell my girls all the time, the last 16 minutes of the game are the most important 16 minutes of the game and we've got to make sure those are better than our first," said Centaurus coach Liz Russell, whose team has already matched last years win total. "We didn't come out and prove that we could do that. I'm just glad that we get to see Longmont again."
The Trojans (7-1 overall, 1-0) opened the final eight minutes on a 7-0 run and forced Centaurus to play catch-up again. Knaus got the ball in the hands of his go-to players, Sydney Wetterstrom and Madi Gaibler, and they delivered down the stretch.
Centaurus, who had the edge in the speed department but not in tsize, watched the duo scored 11 of Longmont's 17 fourth quarter points.
"They are looking for each other real well and we've got to continue to do that," said Knaus, who got 23 from Wetterstrom and 12 from Gaibler. "The younger girls continue to get better every game and if they continue to blossom, we are going to be tough."
The big key for Longmont on Tuesday night was their adjustment to their perimeter defense and the pressure they put on the Warriors shooters, notably Linsi Calvo and Natalie Gofran.
The wide-open looks of the first half were either gone or contested in the second.
"We just didn't make the shots that mattered and they defensively they pushed our offense out so much that we just couldn't do much," said Russell, whose team had pointed to this date since the start of the season.
Gofran, who hit three 3-pointers in the first half, was limited to one field goal in the second and finished with a team high 18 points. Calvo hit three of her four 3-points in the second half to keep her team in the game and totaled 14 in the losing effort.
Longmont 58, Centaurus 51
CENTAURUS (6-1, 0-1)
Helen Gover 1 0-0 3, Brooke Calvo 3 0-0 6, Moniphon Xiong 0 0-0 0, Brooke Jones 3 0-0 6, Morgan Negrey 1 0-0 2, Linsi Calvo 5 0-0 14, Imani Licata-Becerril 1 0-0 2, Natalie Gofran 4 7-8 18. Totals 18 7-8 51.
LONGMONT (7-1, 1-0)
Sarah Nichols 3 0-0 6, Sam Wiley 0 0-0 0, Emma Carney 5 0-0 10, Sydney Fixmer 0 0-0 0, Sam Larson 0 2-2 2, Sydney Wetterstrom 7 8-10 23, Madi Gaibler 5 2-3 12, Hali Walters 0 0-0 0, Kennedy Sheetz 2 1-3 5. Totals 22 11-18 58.
Score by quarters:Centaurus 10 19 12 10 — 51 Longmont 19 11 11 17 — 58
3-point field goals — Centaurus (8): L. Calvo 4, Gofran 3, Gover; Longmont (1): Watterstrom. Total fouls — Centaurus 14; Longmont 9.