LONGMONT — After struggling in two lopsided losses against Class 5A clubs last week, Longmont girls basketball coach Jay Darien was just hoping his young, inexperienced team could give him something he could work with.
The Trojans did just that on Tuesday, even if Longmont ultimately was unable to pull out what would have been a thrilling victory.
Longmont dropped a 56-50 decision in overtime against visiting Evergreen, but Darien was pleased with the flashes of improvement his Trojans displayed.
However, one area Longmont surely will be working on before it heads to Heritage to begin a tournament on Thursday is free throws. Longmont made only 13 of 28 attempts on Tuesday, a shortcoming that proved costly down the stretch.
“What I told the kids is that I can coach what they did tonight,” Darien said. “The way they played at Rocky Mountain last Friday (in a 68-38 loss), I can’t coach that. Now, there’s huge improvement. We broke the press tonight most of the time. As long as I see improvement, I’m happy. We’ll get them there.”
Evergreen led 35-31 at the end of the third quarter and extended its lead to 38-31 early in the fourth before Longmont rallied. Sophomore Kathryn Schell knocked down a 3-pointer that started Longmont on a 7-0 burst that tied the game at 38-38. The Trojans fell behind 45-40 with 1:30 remaining before consecutive baskets by Gabriella Fallon and freshman Lacy Haddock pulled Longmont within a point with 27.2 seconds to play.
A free throw by the Cougars gave the visitors a 46-44 edge, but Anna Schell, who paced Longmont with 18 points, calmly knocked down a pull-up jumper with seven seconds remaining. Longmont still had to survive two point-blank chances by Evergreen in the final seconds before going to overtime.
“We definitely feel better about how we played,” Fallon said. “Our energy on the floor was a lot better. We were talking more on defense. I think us coming back like that shows how much fight we have and how much heart we have. It shows how bad we wanted this game and how we can come together better as a team still.”
Longmont never led in the extra session, although Anna Schell’s second 3-pointer of the game kept the contest tied at 49-49 with two minutes remaining. The Trojans were outscored 6-1 the rest of the way, yet a better effort at the free throw line likely would have made overtime unnecessary. Longmont went 6-for-14 at the free throw line during the second quarter and went 5-for-12 during the fourth quarter and overtime.
“Against those 5A schools, I think we were a little intimidated, especially when we went to Rocky,” Darien said. “We weren’t intimidated and we did come out with better intensity. We played well enough to win tonight, certainly. The good thing is we went to the line 28 times. We haven’t attacked the basket that hard yet. We haven’t shot 28 in the first three games. That’s encouraging. We have a goal of 80 percent, and if we were even near that tonight, it would have changed everything.”
Evergreen 56, Longmont 50
At Longmont HS
Ellingsen 0 3-4 3, Russell 3 0-2 6, Elmgreen 4 5-6 15, Dobey 1 3-5 5, Newhall 3 5-8 11, Rauch 1 1-2 3, O’Brien 3 2-5 8, Armovich 1 1-3 3, Bokelman 1 0-0 2. Totals 17 20-35 56.
Fallon 2 3-4 7, Carney 0 1-4 1, Haddock 3 1-2 7, Canar 1 1-4 3, K. Schell 1 3-4 6, Anna Schell 8 0-1 18, Chandler 1 1-2 3, Tulenko 1 2-2 4, Johnson 0 1-5, 1. Totals 17 13-28 50.
Score by quarters:
Evergreen 10 14 11 11 10 — 56
Longmont 7 12 12 15 4 — 50
3-point field goals — Evergreen (2): Elmgreen 2; Longmont (3): A. Schell 2, K. Schell. Total fouls — Evergreen 23, Longmont 25. Fouled out — Haddock, Canar. Technical fouls — None.