Girls basketball: Late rally earns Boulder first conference win

Boulder's Courtney Van Bussum, left, drives the lane past Legacy's Bree Paulson on Thursday night during the Panthers' victory.
Boulder’s Courtney Van Bussum, left, drives the lane past Legacy’s Bree Paulson on Thursday night during the Panthers’ victory.

BOULDER — Given the hefty lead Boulder girls basketball built out of halftime, Vivi Gregorich was expecting a rout. In the end, the Panthers’ guard and her teammates had to settle for a rally.

Boulder came up with its first conference win of the season, downing Legacy 52-42 behind a blistering final 2 minutes of offense. The team went on a 10-0 run to finish off the defending Class 5A state champions and make their first mark in the Front Range League. But the finish was a far cry from how the Panthers started the second half.

At moments in the third quarter, the host team had the Lightning down by as many as 11 points.

“It was more dramatic than we expected,” Gregorich said.

Gregorich got Boulder (6-3, 1-1) back on track with her final deep shot of the evening. The junior finished the night with a game-high 16 points, with her final of four 3-pointers swinging the momentum away from Legacy. Lena Jaycox then took over, shooting 6 for 6 from the free-throw line to put the finishing touches on the win.

“And we just stepped up on defense and pulled it out,” Gregorich said.

Boulder finding itself having to stage a comeback stemmed from a couple of things, the most stinging to Ron Burgin being his team’s shooting. The coach earned a few gray hairs after his players missed a slew of high-percentage shots.

“My gosh, I told them at halftime no more shots in the 3-point arc, because we can’t make them” Burgin said. “It was unbelievable. It was contagious, one missed then the rest did.”

One of the team’s driest spells also happened to coincide with Legacy’s most productive run of offense. The Lightning started the fourth with a 9-0 run, with most of the team’s points coming off the free-throw line.

“The refs were calling it tight tonight and we play aggressive defense, so that’s going to happen,” Burgin said.

Legacy sophomore Bree Paulson had the best of the run and had the Lightning looking like they were going to avoid their second conference loss. The forward scored six of her team-high 14-points of the game in the period. And with her team overcoming Boulder’s double-digit lead, she was certain the Lightning had the wind at their backs.

“It felt that way, but then they hit a couple of 3s and it went the other way,” she said. “I don’t want to say we gave up at that point, but we didn’t come together the way we should have.”

The win breaks a two-game losing streak for Boulder and put Legacy on a two-game skid. The contest also continued a run of tight finishes for the Panthers. While not ideal, nor good for the team’s nerves, its players are certain such games will serve them well in the long run.

“Our league is always strong and there’s a lot of good teams,” Gregorich said. “So it should be interesting.”

Follow Elwood on Twitter @ElwoodKShelton.

Boulder 52, Legacay 42

At Boulder HS

LEGACY (4-5, 0-2)

Lopez 1 5-6 8, Neely 1 2-4 4, Smith 2 4-6 8, Paulson 3 7-9 14, Smith 4 0-0 8. Totals 11 18-25 42.

BOULDER (6-3, 1-1)

Gregorich 5 2-2 16, Burns 2 2-4 7, Van Bussum 4 1-3 9, Alexander 1 0-1 2, Jaycox 2 8-8 13, Szarmach. Totals 16 13-18 52.

Score by quarters:

Legacy 5 13 12 17 — 42

Boulder 7 18 12 15 — 52

3-point field goals — Legacy (2): Lopez, Paulson; Boulder (7): Gregorich 4, Jaycox, Szarmach. Total fouls — Legacy 18, Boulder 20. Fouled out — none. Technical fouls — none.