FORT COLLINS — It would have been fun to play out on a screen what was going through Longmont girls coach Mike Knaus' head on Thursday night.
Mere moments after his Trojans dropped their season opener to host Rocky Mountain 49-39 in the fifth annual Battle of the Rockies, you could almost see him mentally playing through what had just transpired.
Such is the life of a coach.
"There are a lot of things that we did well, but there are still a lot of places where we can get better," said Knaus, whose team drops into the consolation side of the bracket and will face Cheyenne Central, Wyo. on Friday.
"I feel really good about this team, we are going to be good. It's a matter of staying at it and getting better."
A well-played first quarter against the 5A Lobos saw Longmont do what it wanted to do on the offensive end by moving the ball around and eventually finding the easy look in the paint.
And despite seven first quarter turnovers, the Trojans were locked into a 15-14 game after the first eight minutes.
Knaus, who applauded his teams intensity in the first half, saw the Lobos go on a an ever-so-slight 8-3 run in the middle of the second quarter that created enough separation to put a little panic in his girls.
"It's about playing at an intense level for a full game," he said. "And that's what we are not quite ready to do yet.
"I felt like we had spurts of great intensity and great basketball, but we are not their consistently for a full game yet and that's what we are going to strive for."
A seven-point halftime deficit grew to 38-26 after three quarters, and Rocky Mountain — off to a 4-0 start — played with confidence behind its stand-out Gabby McDonald. She was the only player in double figures for either side with 15 points.
Longmont (0-1) threatened to cut the lead to just two possessions in the fourth quarter, drawing to 44-37 after a Sarah Nichol's three-pointer, but couldn't get any closer.
Nichols scored seven of her team-high nine points in the fourth quarter. Both Emma Carney ad Eva D'Epagnier chipped in with eight points.
"I'm proud of the effort and the way the girls battled," Knaus said. "First game, we take it from here and try and get better."
ROCKY MOUNTAIN 49, LONGMONT 39
At Rocky Mountain
Sarah Nichols 3 2-2 9, Sam Wiley 0 0-0 0, Annika Wetterstrom 0 2-2 2, Sydney Fixmer 2 0-0 4, Emma Carney 4 0-1 8, Eva D'Epagnier 4 0-0 8, Riley Bolte 0 2-2 2, Kennedy Sheetz 3 0-0 6. Totals 16 6-7 39.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN (4-0)
Sarah Jones 1 0-0 2, Jade Gosar 3 0-3 6, Kiley Towne 2 2-3 6, Savannah Warner 3 0-1 6, Lena Long-Shore 3 1-3 8, Gabby McDonald 5 5-6 15, Makayla Eccher 1 2-2 4, Maddy Bennett 0 0-0 0, Allison Siclair 0 2-2 2. Totals 18 10-18 49
Score by quarters:Longmont 14 6 6 13 — 39
3-point field goals — Longmont (1): Nichols; Rocky Mountain (1): Long-Shore. Total fouls — Longmont 15; Rocky Mountain 14. Fouled out — Carney.