NIWOT — The Niwot girls basketball team picked up a big win over rival Longmont on Friday night, but it was a somber one given the circumstances.

The Longmont Trojans took the court on Friday night without their head coach Mike Knaus, whose son passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday night. With the two local-area teams having so many personal ties, Knaus' tragic loss hit home for everyone on both benches.

The final score was a 48-42 victory for the Cougars. But it was a difficult one to enjoy.

"This was a tough one tonight, for them especially," Niwot head coach Terri Ward said. "It was tough for us too because our kids are friends with their kids. It's really hard to want to beat somebody when they're hurting and our hearts go out to them. But I've know Mike since I was in seventh grade and I told the kids in the locker room before the game that if there was one thing I knew, it was that coach Knaus would not want you to feel sorry for his team.

"We respect them, and respect the game, enough to play hard."

The Cougars (9-9, 4-5 Northern) jumped out to an early lead were ahead 26-15 at the halftime. The Trojans (6-11, 5-5 Northern) eventually cut the lead to six points with 1 minute, 34 seconds remaining in the game by holding Niwot to five points in the fourth quarter, but they couldn't get any closer.


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Zoe Gonzales (11.8 ppg) led the Cougars with 14 points while senior guard YY Chen scored 13. Junior Jenna Moore led Longmont with 10.

"They're an amazing team, they have a great coach and their girls are awesome," said Niwot junior Mary Gillett, who scored 12 points.

"They past few games, we've been working really hard but we haven't been finishing games," Chen added. "We played well tonight and we'll just have to keep that up and finish the season strong."

The Cougars had lost four of their last five games before Friday while the Trojans have now won four out of their last seven games. The last time these two teams met on Jan. 10, Niwot won 41-37 in overtime.

The Trojans will play at Greeley Central (10-8, 6-3 Northern) on Tuesday. Also on Tuesday, the Cougars will host Mountain View (10-8, 6-3 Northern).

Brad Cochi: cochib@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/BradCochi

Niwot 48, Longmont 42

At Niwot H.S.

LONGMONT (6-11, 5-5)

Nichols 0 1-2 1, Wiley 1 0-0 3, Moore 4 2-2 10, Wetterstrom 0 0-0 0, Carney 3 0-0 6, Fixmer 2 0-0 6, D'Epagnier 1 3-4 5, Bolte 1 1-2 4, Sheetz 1 4-4 7. Totals 13 11-14 42.

NIWOT (9-9, 4-5)

Beaton 0 0-0 0, Colvin 1 1-2 3, Bhat 0 0-0 0, Mims 0 0-0 0, Gillett 5 2-5 12, Chen 5 0-0 13, Gonzales 5 4-5 14, Grant 1 4-7 6, Stevens 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 11-19 48.

Score by quarters:

Longmont 10 5 11 16 — 42

Niwot 15 11 17 5 — 48

3-point field goals — Longmont (5): Fixmer 2, Wiley, Bolte, Sheetz; Niwot (3): Chen 3. Total fouls — Longmont 17, Niwot 10.