LONGMONT — The steady climb towards top of the Northern League standings for the Longmont girls basketball team starts on defense.
The Trojans are hopeful that Tuesday's performance against Thompson Valley is an indication of a growing trend.
Taking advantage of 28 Thompson Valley turnovers in their home game that represented the end of the first half of league play, Riley Bolte and her feisty teammates rolled to a 57-35 win over the Eagles to put LHS on a three-game winning streak.
In those wins, the Trojans have not allowed 40 points to an opponent, and that's been particularly notable after the team lost starting senior Jenna Moore to a knee injury at the end of their game against Silver Creek last week.
"I thought our defense was what kind of carried us tonight, because they missed a lot of shots because of it and just good rotations," head coach Mike Knaus said after the Trojans improved to 6-8 overall and 4-3 in league play. "We had a lot of traps on the baseline because of those good rotations. We just wore them down I think."
"I thought we really played well as a team tonight, and we really kept pushing the ball which is something we've been struggling with," Bolte said after scoring 21 points to lead the way. "We could always do better defensively, but towards the end of the game we got all those rebounds and steals, and it really just ended up good all-around."
The Trojans worked well in man defense and, for the most part, worked the glass effectively, and it was a couple early steals from Bolte that got them off and running in the first quarter.
Longmont only trailed one time in the game at 2-0, and by the end of the first quarter Thompson Valley had more turnovers (10) than shots attempted (eight) or points (just six). Longmont built its lead to 23-8 at one point in the second quarter, and though Thompson Valley (4-11, 1-6) managed to make it 28-20 early in the third the Eagles could not stop the Trojans for long.
Sydney Fixmer's six points in the third quarter helped on the offensive end, while on defense the entire team made it tough on TVHS (3-for-14 shooting in the frame).
Fixmer finished with 11 points, and Eva D'Epagnier had nine. D'Epagnier and Emma Carney combined for 21 rebounds, too.
Longmont also benefited from earning free throws, hitting 20 of 36 from the line including 13 makes in the second half.
"A lot of things just clicked and we were really comfortable shooting," Bolte said.
Though Moore's injury initially brought fears of a season-ending ligament tear, there's more and more hope she'll be able to return. She was averaging almost 10 points and five rebounds a game.
"She's gone from two crutches to one, so she's getting stronger and we hope to have her back for the stretch run," Knaus said of Moore.
Longmont 57, Thompson Valley 35
At Longmont HS
THOMPSON VALLEY (4-11, 1-6)
Newberry 1 0-0 2, Black 5 0-1 10, Briggs 0 0-0 0, K. Schuetz 0 0-0 0, Adamson 0 0-3 0, Bowen 1 3-3 6, Sobraske 1 0-0 2, Durtsche 2 1-2 5, Sauer 4 2-2 10. Totals 14 6-11 35.
LONGMONT (6-8, 4-3)
Wiley 1 3-5 5, Wetterstrom 0 1-2 1, Carney 1 0-2 2, Fixmer 4 2-2 11, D'Epagnier 4 1-6 9, Gray 0 2-6 2, Montez 0 0-0 0, Bolte 6 9-10 21, Hitchcock 2 1-2 5, Dillow 0 1-1 1, Carson 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 20-36 57.
Score by quarters:Thompson Valley612611—35
3-point field goals — Thompson Valley (1): Bowen; Longmont (1): Fixmer. Fouled out — Durtsche. Technical fouls — K. Schuetz.