LONGMONT — Neither the Longmont nor the Niwot girls basketball teams were in particularly good form when they played each other on Friday night.
But one of the reasons Longmont in ranked in the top five of nearly every poll is the Trojans' ability to win even when they have an off night.
Their offense was a little off on Friday but their defense was good enough to pick up a 35-19 victory over the Cougars.
"We only gave up four (points) in the first half," Trojans head coach Mike Knaus said. "We haven't played in eight days since we played Centaurus and we had a couple days when we didn't practice because of the snow. We just weren't fluid tonight but the kids played hard and sometimes you've got to win ugly. At least our defense was good enough to win.
"But that's what we pride ourselves on. We always talk about how our defense gets our offense going and things like that. That's kind of the key to how we roll and we go as our defense goes."
The defense went well on Friday.
The Trojans held the Cougars to four points in the first quarter and zero points in the second. At the offensive end, Trojans senior forward Sydney Wetterstrom led all scorers with 21 points. She was the only player to score in double figures.
Friday's win puts the Trojans, who have lost just one game this season, in a good position as the prepare to Holy Family (13-4, 9-0 Tri-Valley) on the road Saturday. Holy Family is also a top-10 team in 4A and is led by talented guard Katie Chavez (18.7 ppg).
"They have great guards so we'll see if we can't exploit them inside a little bit," Knaus said. "They drive a lot and they are really quick. We'll have to have really good defense and be better at the offensive end."
While it was a rough night for the Niwot Cougars, the team has already surpassed last season's win total with a 55-33 win over Greeley Central on Wednesday.
"Boy, tonight was ugly," Cougars head coach Terri Ward said. "I liked our second half. I didn't like our first half, particularly our second quarter. I didn't think our first quarter was that bad, even though we only scored four point. But our second quarter was horrible.
"We just didn't want to shoot the basketball, that's the bottom line. I think we only took five shots in the second quarter. And we had eight turnovers. That's not good. The second half was more even."
Ward said the Cougars' goal is to win five of their final six games, which could be good enough to get them into the state tournament. Niwot will host Thompson Valley (5-13, 5-3 Northern) on Tuesday.
Longmont 35, Niwot 19
At Longmont H.S.
NIWOT (11-7, 3-6)
Gonzales 0 1-2 1, A. Mercier 0 1-2 1, Setter 1 0-0 2, E. Mercier 0 0-0 0, Chen 1 0-0 2, Gillett 0 1-4 1, Jenkins 0 1-4 1, Strope 2 0-1 4, Grant 3 1-2 7, Allen 0 0-0 0. Totals 7 5-14 19.
LONGMONT (15-1, 8-0)
Nichols 1 0-0 2, Wiley 0 0-0 0, Carney 0 0-0 0, Fixmer 0 0-1 0, Larson 0 2-2 2, Wetterstromg 8 5-5 21, D'Epagnier 0 0-0 0, Gaibler 4 0-0 8, Walters 0 0-2 0, Sheetz 1 0-2 2. Totals 13 7-12 35.
Score by quarters:Niwot 4 0 11 4 — 19
Longmont 14 2 11 8 — 35
Total fouls — Niwot 12.