BOULDER — The Fairview girls basketball team may have everything run through dynamic senior guards Denali Pinto and Ashley Panem, but the Knights have certainly shown in three early season games they're not going to be completely dependent on that duo's output.
The Knights have utterly dominated the competition so far, and that included Thursday night's Fairview Festival semifinal game against ThunderRidge — an 84-48 win that was out of reach for the Grizzlies by the second quarter.
Perhaps a lot of teams will catch the drift soon — be ready to get spread out on defense, and be prepared for the Knights to use everybody on the floor. That was the case Thursday as five players approached double-figures in moving to 3-0 this year.
It's one thing to beat Pine Creek by 30 as FHS did in its season opener, but it's an entirely different thing to beat a ThunderRidge team that is traditionally a hoops powerhouse in the Continental League.
Pinto seemed to recognize the value of the win after posting 22 points and seeing Faith Anderson (12 points), Ari Konstanopolous (nine) and Adaya Richmond (eight) come up with some big plays.
"Having people who have just been in the program for a long time, like Faith and Kate (Lampert), just seeing them be able to finish around the rim has been awesome because we feel like we can give everybody touches on the ball," Pinto said, her performance including nine rebounds and three blocked shots. "Everyone's shooting, and everyone's working hard on defense together. It's just going to be key to have that cohesiveness that we've been able to show so far, on defense and on offense."
In addition to Panem and Pinto, sophomore Izzy Munson returns as a starter giving FHS three guards with experience. But Konstantopolous and Anderson also are seniors looking to have breakout seasons to keep the Knights in contention for a deep playoff run. The team's lone junior is Lampert, who also got extensive playing time last year.
From a scoring standpoint, Konstanopolous and Anderson got going early Thursday as Fairview got out to a 19-3 lead on ThunderRidge — the big advantage was paved, also, by five 3-pointers to begin the game. Anderson had six points and five rebounds in the first quarter alone, and Konstanopolous hit a couple of mid-range shots that helped energize the overall effort.
Panem and Pinto kept the fevered pace for the second quarter and Fairview shot 16-for-29 from the floor, forced ThunderRidge into 12 turnovers and out-rebounded the Grizzlies 20-11 for the half.
By the time the game was over, Lampert had 13 rebounds to go along with five points, and all eight dressed players had scored a field goal. Panem, who on Tuesday hit her 1,000th career point in a win against Arvada West, finished with 20 points on 8-for-16 shooting.
"I think we've got a few more weapons than what a lot of people might think, and it's good to see so many contributing so far," said Fairview head coach Rod Beauchamp. "We're getting a good inside presence, and I think that will allow us to get creative. That really opens up our perimeter game."
"ThunderRidge is a prestigious program so we knew we had to come out firing in order to get them down," Pinto said. "We've been doing that to teams so far this season."
The Knights, ranked No. 9 in the preseason CHSAANow.com poll, will get a big test on Saturday. They will face No. 6 Ralston Valley, who beat second-ranked Cherry Creek 61-52, for the Festival championship at 5 p.m.
Fairview 84, ThunderRidge 48
At Fairview HS
Haze 4 3-4 13, Anhalt 1 1-2 3, Needles 4 2-2 13, A. Makloski 0 0-0 0, Keefe 3 3-4 9, Martinez 1 4-4 6, T. Makloski 0 0-1 0, Maestas 0 0-0 0, Giaque 1 0-0 2, Reiner 1 0-0 2. Totals 15 13-17 48.
Richmond 3 1-2 8, Pinto 5 9-11 22, Munson 2 2-2 6, Valdez 1 0-0 2, Konstanopolous 4 1-2 9, Panem 8 1-2 20, Lampert 1 3-6 5, Anderson 5 2-2 12. Totals 29 19-27 84.
Score by quarters:ThunderRidge1012818—48
3-point field goals — ThunderRidge (5): Needles 3, Haze 2; Fairview (7): Pinto 3, Panem 3, Richmond. Fouled out — Richmond.