LONGMONT — With a multitude of players who can box out, rebound and steal, defense has been a cornerstone to Broomfield girls basketball’s success this season. But Tuesday, the top-ranked Class 4A team’s players even surprised themselves in their ability to suck the air out of the gym.
The Eagles went on the road and downed Northern League rival Longmont 58-30 behind one of its most dominating defensive performances of the year. And while the team was confident it had the talent to slow down the Trojans, its players were also a bit shocked at their success.
With Longmont (6-2, 1-1) boasting one of the state’s most dynamic backcourt players, Broomfield (11-1, 3-0) entered its third conference game expecting a knockdown, drag-out fight.
“They’ve been very consistent and good this season,” Broomfield forward Stacie Hull said. “And we’re rivals. To keep them down was really good for us.”
Broomfield’s coup in the game was keeping Longmont guard Kathryn Schell a non-factor for much of the game. The junior is one of Colorado’s top scorers, averaging 20 points per game, but the Eagles held her to a season-low outing of six. Bri Wilber guarded Schell for most of the night.
The lull in Longmont’s scoring gave Broomfield plenty of time to heat up its offense, which it needed after turning the ball over a few times to start. But once the Eagles built a head of steam the Trojans had few answers.
The Eagles’ Callie Kaiser finished the night with a game-high 16 points, turning on in the second half. But early in the contest Hull set the tempo for Broomfield. The forward knocked down all 10 of her points in the opening two periods, going a perfect 3 for 3 from the floor in the first.
“It was the first night where I really felt like I had my game,” Hull said. “It was good to have the post getting into the swing of things, pulling the weight for the team.”
Sydney Wetterstrom helped the Trojans charge back at the end of the game, scoring all six of her points before fouling out in the fourth. Heartening as the strong finish was, she believes her team missed a golden opportunity at the start.
“We had the energy after scoring first and forcing two turnovers,” the Longmont forward said. “Then they hit a 3 and it was like our tail went between our legs like a dog. We were scared and that’s when everything went downhill.”
Longmont coach Mike Knaus won’t argue over the early turning point, but he credited Broomfield’s defensive play in wreaking most of the havoc.
“We didn’t make some of the adjustments we needed to make,” Knaus said. “When they took one pass away on the press, we needed to go to our second or third looks. Sometimes we didn’t do that.”
Even with a big win over a long-time rival, Broomfield coach Mike Croell was not quick to mark the game as a feather in the Eagles’ cap. The coach pointed out that this was his team’s fourth game out of break, while Longmont has only played once.
“They’ve only really seen Greeley Central since break, because Niwot closed down,” Croell said. “But they’re a good team that plays physical. And they’ll get better.”
Follow Elwood on Twitter @ElwoodKShelton.
Broomfield 58, Longmont 30
At Longmont HS
BROOMFIELD (11-1, 3-0)
Kaiser 6 2-4 16, Wilber 2 0-0 4, Croell 0 1-2 1, Stovall 1 0-0 3, Lehrer 4 1-5 9, Chase 3 0-0 6, Rohrbaugh 2 0-0 4, Albrecht 2 1-2 5, Hull 4 2-2 10. Totals 24 7-15 58.
LONGMONT (6-2, 1-1)
Fallon 4 0-0 8, Wetterstrom 3 0-0 6, K. Schell 2 1-4 6, A. Schell 2 0-0 4, Johnson 3 0-0 6. Totals 14 1-4 30.
Score by quarters:
Broomfield 17 12 12 17 — 58
Longmont 8 4 6 12 — 30
3-point field goals — Broomfield (3): Kasier, Stovall; Longmont (1): K. Schell. Total fouls — Broomfield 13, Longmont 13. Fouled out — Wetterstrom. Technical fouls — none.