LONGMONT — The depleted Niwot boys basketball team put up a good fight but couldn’t keep up with Longmont on Tuesday night.
Four Trojans scored in double figures and they were able to hold off a late run from the Cougars for a 53-43 Northern-Conference victory.
Senior guard Reilly Mau led all scorers with 16 points and three other Trojans — Brian Donaire, Marcus Johnson and Josh Cogdill — scored 11 points each.
“That’s pretty dang good,” Trojans head coach Jeff Kloster said.
Suiting up four junior varsity players due to injuries to regulars, the Cougars wanted to slow the game down and play patient, half-court offense through forward Henry Sebesta. They struggled in the first half, however, playing too fast and missing passes.
Donaire, a senior guard, said the Trojans’ half-court defense was ready for the Cougars. He was one of the many players that rotated in to pay special attention to Sebesta and point guard Michael Ogez.
“We felt confident,” Donaire said. “When we wanted to, we got our stops and we got out running. That’s what we like to do. We know they’re their two best players so we just locked up on them and let everyone else take their shots.”
Kloster said the Trojans got lackadaisical and began forcing turnovers once they had an 18-point lead in the third quarter. At the same time, the Cougars slowed down their offense and got to the free-throw line in the second half.
The Cougars held the Trojans scoreless for the first five minutes of the fourth quarter to pull within seven points at 42-35. But the Trojans shot 8-for-10 at the free-throw line down the stretch to close out the win.
“It sucks that we have a lot of guys out but it’s not an excuse,” Ogez said. “We were pretty stagnant the first three quarters and we went on a little run and got a burst of energy. They did a good job of putting the game away and making free throws and put the game out of reach.”
Donaire scored his 11 points on five field goals. Johnson, a first-team all-conference offensive lineman, was able to push his way to the rim for his.
“I guess playing football just gives me a little bit of physicality that I bring to the court and it helps out a lot,” Johnson said.
Josh Cogdill added 11 points for the Trojans, including six in the fourth quarter that helped snap the Cougars run.
Sebesta and Jordan Keeler each scored eight points for the Cougars. Ogez led the Cougars with 15 points, mostly at the free throw line where he shot 10 for 13.
The Trojans will put their five-game win streak to the test at No. 3-ranked Broomfield (9-1, 3-0) on Friday.
“I told the guys in the locker room, ‘We can’t fear anyone. We can respect them but by goodness gracious, we’re gonna go in there and get after them,” Kloster said.
The Cougars travel to Loveland to take on Mountain View (1-10, 0-3) on Friday. They’ll be looking to avoid an early deficit and get back on track after loosing two straight.
“I really feel that despite all the pieces we’re missing that we’re still good enough to compete,” Cougars head coach Travis Maron said. “But in order for that to happen we have to play consistent basketball for 32 minutes. We’re not deep enough or strong enough to give up a lead like that and then fight back all the time.”
Brad Cochi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Longmont 53, Niwot 43
At Longmont HS
NIWOT (3-6, 1-2)
Lee 1 2-2 5, Keeler 3 2-2 8, Janzen 1 1-1 3, Merriman 1 0-0 2, Sebesta 2 4-9 8, Heape 1 0-0 2, Ogez 2 10-13 15. Totals 11 19-27 43.
LONGMONT (7-3, 3-0)
Alaniz 0 0-0 0, J. Johnson 0 0-0 0, Cogdill 3 5-8 11, Hitchcock 0 0-0 0, Donaire 5 0-0 11, Mau 4 7-8 16, Rossi 2 0-0 4, Speidel 0 0-0 0, M. Johnson 5 1-2 11. Totals 19 13-18 53.
Score by quarters:
Niwot 12 7 7 17 — 43
Longmont 16 13 12 12 — 53
3-point field goals — Niwot (2): Lee, Ogez; Longmont (2): Donaire, Mau. Total fouls — Niwot 18, Longmont 20. Fouled out — Keeler. Technical fouls — None.