Boys basketball: Panthers can’t find range in season-opening loss

Boulder's Andrew Kurtz, right, shoots over Rock Canyon's Brady McNeily during the Panthers' 54-36 loss at home on  Monday night.
Mark Leffingwell/Camera
Boulder’s Andrew Kurtz, right, shoots over Rock Canyon’s Brady McNeily during the Panthers’ 54-36 loss at home on Monday night.

BOULDER — The Boulder boys basketball team can still play defense.

It’s putting points on the board that figures to be a bit of a work in progress for the Panthers.

BHS scored just two in the first quarter on Monday night and never really got on track after that in a 54-36 season-opening loss at home to Rock Canyon.

“I just didn’t think we came out ready, and I think it killed us through the whole game,” said BHS senior guard Jack Huettel, who along with junior Demetrius led the Panthers with eight points apiece. “I think you’ve got to get a good start, especially starting these early-season games with high intensity. And I don’t think we did that.”

The loss opened the coach Eric Eisenhard era on a sour note. But no one expected the Panthers to be firing on all cylinders right away after losing all but one contributor from last season’s state runner-up squad.

“It’s a new crew but we should be better than that,” said Eisenhard, who took over last spring after former coach Alan Schulz resigned. “It’s squarely on my shoulders.”

The Panthers shot just 13 of 50 from the field and committed 13 turnovers in the first half against a taller Rock Canyon squad that clogged passing lanes. In addition to Kennedy and Huettel, Will Grubb pitched in six points, and Andrew Kurtz had four.

Both players and coach admitted the Panthers were too tentative on offense.

After BHS scored first, the visiting Jaguars (2-2) went on an 11-0 run for the rest of the first quarter. After Huettel started the second quarter with a 3-pointer, Rock Canyon reeled of nine more in a row to go up 20-5 and take control for good. The Panthers never got within single digits again.

“I think we just need to find some players that are going to step up and want to make the big plays,” Huettel said. “Length seemed to affect us, and we had an off night shooting obviously. It wasn’t a very high percentage. But I think bottom line we’ve got to take the risks and really attack the rim and want to get it done.”

The Panthers did force 23 Rock Canyon turnovers, giving the Jaguars fits at times with their full-court press. It was the high point on a night in which BHS was also out-rebounded 37-24.

“That was the one thing I think we stepped away from tonight with was knowing we can put a little pressure on defense,” Eisenhard said. “We take to that naturally a little bit.”

Rock Canyon 54, Boulder 36

At Boulder HS

ROCK CANYON (2-2)

Finnerty 1 1-1 3, Garcia 1 0-0 3, Peterson 2 0-0 4, Cohn 4 0-0 10, Ousley 3 2-4 8, McNeily 4 0-2 8, Hirsch 2 0-0 6, Noyes 1 1-2 3, Koslosky 1 0-0 2, Jonas 3 0-0 7. Totals 22 4-9 54.

BOULDER (0-1)

Vernon 1 0-0 3, Grubb 2 2-2 6, Charnick 1 0-0 3, King 0 1-2 1, Huettel 3 0-0 8, Kurtz 2 0-0 4, Krimstock 1 0-0 3, Kenedy 3 2-2 8, Charnick 1 0-0 3, Williams 0 0-0 0, Waldman 0 0-0 0. Totals 13 5-6 36.

Score by quarters:

Rock Canyon 11 13 19 11 — 54

Boulder 2 9 13 12 — 36

3-point field goals — Rock Canyon (6): Hirsch 2, Garcia, Jonas; Boulder (5): Huettel 2, Charnick, Vernon, Krimstock. Total fouls — Rock Canyon 16, Boulder 13. Fouled out — None. Technicals — None.