LYONS — Maitreya Leeuwenburgh used to be the point guard at Lyons, but he grew four inches and moved into the post.
Comfortable with the ball in his lengthy 6-foot-5 wing span, Leeuwenburgh has been scoring in bunches for the Lions. He dropped 21 points at home against Berthoud on Thursday night, but the Lions still lost 65-62.
“It was intense. I’m really tired,” Leeuwenburgh said. “It was a fun game. They were definitely just as good as us but there were a few we could have made better.”
Both teams run up and down the court to a 30-30 tie at halftime. The Lions started the fourth quarter down five points but pulled within striking distance at 63-60 in the final minute. But an errant pass from Reed Test led to a turnover and a foul at the other end on the ensuing Spartans possession.
Berthoud senior Zachary Ruebesam, who led all scorers with 25 points, hit two free throws to put the game out of reach with only a few seconds remaining.
Leeuwenburgh, who paced the Lions comeback with 12 fourth-quarter points, was on the sideline for the final opportunity to tie it after fouling out. He had hit two 3-pointers in the last four minutes of the game.
“I fouled out on a stupid play,” he said. “I could have maybe had the last three because I was feeling it, but I got five fouls and was out of there. When we turned the ball over, I knew it was over.”
Senior guard Jayse Long scored 14 points for the Lions and forward Macrae Falce did a good job of keeping up the game’s fast tempo and finishing off passes from the guards.
“I just try as hard as I can to be able to help my teammates,” Falce said. “I know if I help them, they’ll help me by feeding me the ball. If I get the ball, I have full confidence I can make it.”
On defense, the Lions forced turnovers in their fullcourt set. But in the halfcourt zone, they allowed 10 3-pointers to the hot-shooting Spartans.
“That’s kind of the idea behind our fullcourt defense, to maybe cover up for some deficiencies in the halfcourt,” first-year Lions head coach Travis Crispe said. “It’s tougher playing that zone defense in the halfcourt. It’s easier for them to spread us out.”
The Lions have four of their last five games and have only been at full strength for two of their nine games. On Thursday they were without James Hinker, Ryan Boucher, Kyle Dick and JC Kalvig, who were in Florida on a band trip. They had just eight players suited up.
Off to an 0-2 start to their 3A Patriot League schedule, the Lions begin a stretch of four games on the road with a non-conference matchup against Front Range Christian on Saturday.
“Hopefully we can get them all in the gym, get them all together and finally hit our stride,” Crispe said.
Brad Cochi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Berthoud 65, Lyons 62
At Lyons HS
BERTHOUD (5-4, 2-0)
Santos 4 0-0 9, Nienaber 2 1-3 5, Skoric 3 0-0 7, Dietz 1 0-0 2, Queen 3 0-0 7, Ruebesam 8 4-5 25, Hutchins 3 2-2 10, Urcheck 0 0-0 0, Vasquez 0 0-0 0. Totals 24 7-10 65.
LYONS (3-6, 0-2)
Fesenmeyer 0 0-0 0, Long 5 3-6 14, Campbell 2 0-0 5, Christiansen 2 0-0 5, Test 1 0-0 2, Boldt 1 0-2 2, Leeuwenburgh 8 2-3 21, Falce 6 1-1 13. Totals 25 6-12 62.
Score by quarters:
Berthoud 21 9 17 18 — 65
Lyons 20 10 12 20 — 62
3-point field goals — Berthoud (10): Ruebesam 5, Hutchins 2, Santos, Skoric, Queen; Lyons (6): Leeuwenburgh 3, Long, Campbell, Christiansen. Total fouls — Berthoud 15, Lyons 15. Fouled out — Leeuwenburgh. Technical fouls — None.