LONGMONT — The veteran Longmont Trojans stepped onto the court with all the confidence befitting a team that had vanquished the foe before them 11 straight times.
Over the last six seasons, the Thompson Valley Eagles had been foiled in every way possible by their rival 16 miles to the south. On Tuesday night an amazing performance finally bucked that trend.
The Trojans couldn’t overcome a tremendous Thompson Valley shooting display and suffered a tough 54-51 conference loss at home on Tuesday night. The deadly accurate Eagles, who shot over 65 percent from 3-point range, needed every one of their 10 3-pointers to pull off the upset.
The setback drops Longmont out of second place in the Northern League behind Greeley Central.
“That was a tough loss,” LHS coach Jeff Kloster said. “They’re a great shooting team and our guys unfortunately thought we had to play their game, which didn’t work.”
The Trojans played efficiently during a fast-paced first half and held leads in the second quarter by as many as nine points. But, as would be the case all evening long, 3-point shooting kept the Eagles within shouting distance even as their defense was continuously beaten by the hard-charging Trojans.
A five-point halftime Trojan lead evaporated in the second half as the Eagles outscored their nemesis by 24 points from beyond the 3-point line.
“We would get an eight or nine point lead and then they would just hit 3 after 3 after 3 and keep coming back,” Kloster said.
With just over four minutes to play, the Eagles held a 49-43 lead. But the Trojan defense tightened and held the Eagles without a field goal for more than three and a half minutes as the offense clawed its way back.
A basket by senior forward Josh Cogdill with just under a minute to play gave the Trojans a 51-50 lead.
But junior Jonny Pomerleau fired up a prayer in the right corner with a defender draped all over him to drain the decisive 3 with just more than a second left. One final free throw after an errant LHS inbounds pass sealed the game for TVHS.
Senior Reilly Mau paced the Trojans with 23 points on 10-for-15 shooting.
“It’s hard to beat a team that shoots like that,” said junior center Marcus Johnson, who had four points and three rebounds in the loss. “We played great at times, especially in the first half so its tough.”
Thompson Valley 54, Longmont 51 At Longmont HS
THOMPSON VALLEY (11-10, 5-7)
LONGMONT (15-7, 9-4)
Donaire 1 2-2 4, Mau 10 3-5 23, Alaniz 2 1-1 6, Rossi 1 0-0 2, J. Johnson 0 2-2 2, M. Johnson 2 0-0 4, Cogdill 4 1-2 10. Totals 20 9-12 51.
Score by quarters:
Thompson Valley 12 14 17 11 — 54
Longmont 13 17 10 11 — 51
3-point field goals — Longmont (2): Alaniz, Cogdill. Total fouls — Thompson Valley 8, Longmont 12. Fouled out — None. Technical fouls — None.