CENTENNIAL — Broomfield girls basketball coach Mike Croell learned one lesson from Tuesday night’s matchup with Arapahoe: Don’t schedule a 6 p.m. weekday start for a game that requires a trip to the opposite side of the Denver metro area.
The Eagles spent almost two hours sitting on their team bus during rush hour traffic and arrived 15 minutes before the scheduled tipoff — hardly an ideal scenario for the top-ranked 4A team going up against a veteran Warriors club ranked No. 2 in 5A.
Go figure. Broomfield, which had been a stronger second-half team in winning its first six games, led throughout the first half but faltered badly in the second, succumbing 57-46 to a senior-laden Arapahoe team that returned all but one player from a group that reached the Sweet 16 last season.
The Warriors (8-0) rebounded after shooting 34 percent in the first half against Broomfield’s matchup 2-3 zone and fullcourt pressure to go 15 of 24 (.625) in the second half.
Sophomore Callie Kaiser scored 12 of her game-high 17 points in the second half. But the rest of the Eagles managed just seven points, and Broomfield shot just 24 percent in the half, including 2 for 13 in the fourth quarter. Center Stacie Hull had 13 points, eight in the first half, and no other Eagle scored more than three.
“The way we played the first quarter, we’ll show up late every game,” Croell quipped of an 18-13 advantage that the Eagles pushed to eight points midway through the second quarter. “But at the end of the day we have to keep searching for that complete game. We have one or a couple of girls who really play well in one half and then in the second half, they’re gone. We have to put together two full halves of basketball, and it just can’t be a couple of girls off and on.
“When that day comes, as good as we are, we’ll just get that much better. But we’ve got some things to work out, obviously.”
Young teams tend to do that and, especially compared to Arapahoe, Broomfield (6-1) is young. The Eagles have just one senior starter and two seniors on the roster, but Croell does not want to use that as a cop-out for inconsistency.
“With as many tough games as we’ve been through, we’ve got to quit using that as an excuse,” Croell said. “A lot of our key players are juniors, and there’s nothing young about a junior.”
Arapahoe’s closest wins coming into Tuesday were by 13 points over Ralston Valley and 12 over ThunderRidge, so Warriors coach Jeff Knafelc anticipated this would be his team’s toughest challenge to date.
“That’s a really good team,” Knafelc said of Broomfield. “In the second half I think we were a little more patient with the ball.”
Broomfield beat 5A’s sixth-ranked Palmer and No. 11 Denver East in last week’s Fairview Festival, and as a result “may have gotten fatigued” in the second half, Knafelc said.
Croell wasn’t sure about that, but admitted, “We had two brutal games.”
Arapahoe built leads of seven and five points in the third quarter but led only 41-39 into the fourth before a 6-0 run made it 49-40 with just under five minutes left. Kera Riley and Molly Reidel each scored six points in the quarter for Arapahoe, which didn’t let Broomfield get closer than six points the rest of the game.
“We dug ourselves a little hole,” Croell said of the early fourth quarter. “We almost climbed out of it, but then we’d have two or three goof-ups in row where they’d come down and score.”
Any loss is tough, but Croell believes Broomfield will benefit from playing a team as good as Arapahoe.
“It’s a great game on our schedule,” he said. “It was a hard one, but it’s good for us.”
ARAPAHOE 57, BROOMFIELD 46
At Broomfield HS
Kaiser 5 6-6 17, Wilber 1 0-0 3, Croell 1 0-0 2, Lehrer 1 1-2 3, Hull 6 1-2 13, Stovall 1 0-0 3, Chase 1 0-0 3, Rohrbaubgh 1 0-2 2, Albrecht 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 8-12 46.
A. Buechler 2 2-2 8, C. Buechler 1 1-2 3, Lukasiewicz 5 0-0 10, Johnson 1 0-2 2, Reidel 4 0-0 8, Husa 1 0-0 2, Knaflec 0 0-0 0, Sugo 0 0-0 0, RFiley 5 0-0 10, Moore 5 0-1 10, Nelson 1 2-2 4. Totals 25 5-8 57.
Score by quarters:
Broomfield 18 9 12 7 — 46
Arapahoe 13 12 16 16 — 57
3-point field goals — Broomfield (4): Kaiser, Wilber, Stovall, Chase. Arapahoe (2): A. Buechler 2. Total fouls — Broomfield 11, Arapahoe 11. Fouled out — none. Technical Foul— Arapahoe coach Knafelc.