BOULDER — It is always the double-edged sword.
The Fairview girls basketball team was rewarded for an 18-5 regular season record with a first-round playoff bye and the potential of playing a team it had faced before in Pine Creek — an Eagles team the Knights dominated by 40 points early in the season.
To deflect overconfidence and complacency is perhaps the ultimate challenge when such cases present themselves, but the right things were clearly put in place this week as on Friday night Fairview once again had no problems with a quick PCHS team, 69-52, at the Fairview gym.
This Knights' performance spoke to the team's hard work, and perhaps just the right amount of confidence. The Eagles made sure that the duo of Ashley Panem and Denali Pinto weren't going to go off, and Fairview responded by having all five starters score in double figures in the victory.
"We know that throughout the season, things definitely change and that they had gotten stronger, but we also know that we have gotten stronger as a team, as well," said junior post Kate Lampert, who showed both toughness and quickness on the way to 13 points. "We expected their best effort and just knew we had to do the same."
"I don't think Ashley and Denali took 20 shots tonight, and they might not have even had 15 ... Pine Creek did a great job on them but fortunately other girls hit shots and we moved the ball around," Fairview head coach Rod Beauchamp said after his squad moved into the Sweet 16 and a matchup against No. 5 seed Highlands Ranch next Tuesday. "I don't think we ever felt over-confident through the week. We knew they were capable of a more competitive game this time around."
It wasn't that Panem and Pinto were shut down, and in fact both seniors were extremely effective through the evening with Pinto delivering at the free-throw line and Panem nailing four of Fairview's 11 3-pointers.
But as soon as the game started, it became obvious the Knights were going to be distributive. Sophomore Izzy Munson, who led all scorers with 19 points, hit back-to-back 3-pointers within the first 50 seconds of play and freshman Adaya Richmond quickly followed suit with two open 3's of her own, leading to a 22-11 first quarter advantage.
For her part, Lampert was solid in every quarter of play. She could have had a couple assists added to her night were it not for some missed layups after some beautiful touch passes, but Lampert converted nearly everything inside including two traditional three-point plays.
"They kind of ran a triangle-and-one defense on Ashley and Denali, and I think we just had to have some other players step up," Lampert added. "With Izzy coming out and hitting those 3's, and then Adaya, too, it just set a tone that we could all hit those open shots. We just needed to be confident in each other."
Richmond finished with 10 points and Panem and Pinto joined Lampert with 13 apiece, and the Knights led by double-figures the entire second half.
Defensively, the Knights dealt with a quick Pine Creek (13-12) club that didn't have a lot of size but passed well and attacked the hoop. Beauchamp was pleased for the most part with how they covered the Eagles the second time around.
"We still gave up the baseline a little too much and need to have better help side, and there are things we can keep working on," Beauchamp said. "At this point in the season, it's about executing your own stuff."
Which they hope to do again on Tuesday at Highlands Ranch (19-4). The last time those teams matched up was in the 2010-11 Great 8.
Fairview 69, Pine Creek 52
At Fairview HS
Ogrodny 2 10-11 14, Thomas 0 2-2 2, Zahn 1 2-3 5, Martin 3 0-0 7, Bailey 3 2-2 11, E. Murdock 2 0-0 5, H. Murdock 4 0-0 8. Totals 15 16-18 52.
Richmond 4 0-0 10, Collins 0 0-0 0, Englund 0 0-0 0, Pinto 3 7-9 13, Munson 7 1-2 19, Valdez 0 0-0 0, Konstantopolous 0 0-0 0, Panem 4 1-2 13, Lampert 5 3-4 13. Totals 23 12-17 69.
Score by quarters:Pine Creek1161223—52
3-point field goals — Pine Creek (6): Bailey 3, Zahn, E. Murdock, Martin; Fairview (11): Munson 5, Panem 4, Richmond 2.