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Boys basketball: Broomfield blows past Centaurus with stifling defense

BROOMFIELD — As impressive as the opening minutes of Friday evening’s game were for Broomfield’s boys basketball team, the intensity of the second half somehow found a way to trump everything else the Eagles did against Centaurus.

Broomfield set the tone early in the Class 4A Northern League matchup, scoring the game’s first 12 points and forcing several turnovers that led to easy transition baskets.

The Eagles jumped all over the Warriors to open the second half as well, dominating both ends of the floor in holding Centaurus to just seven points overall for a 68-22 victory at Broomfield High School.

Broomfield (11-3, 6-0) relied on its stifling defense to post 12 steals on the night and used a 21-3 scoring advantage in the third quarter to put the game away.

“That’s actually been a big struggle of ours throughout almost every game we’ve played so far,” Eagles senior Evan Kihn said of the second half. “It just comes down to defense. We were all over the place and it’s good to see; it’s a positive sign moving forward.”

Kihn was one of four Broomfield players to finish in double figures, racking up 12 points to go along with six steals. Spenser Reeb tallied a game-high 25 points, and Dan Perse and Alec McClain added 10 points each. Trey Puckett’s five points led Centaurus (3-12, 0-6), which trailed by only 15 at halftime before fading in the decisive third quarter.

“I was really proud of our guys tonight. Broomfield sort of hit us in the mouth right out of the gate in both halves,” Warriors coach Brandon Gullicksrud said. “Broomfield’s a great team, and our guys never hung their head; they never stopped battling, they never stopped fighting.”

McClain took the opening tip for a quick layup, igniting the early run that set the tone for the whole evening. The Eagles forced six turnovers during their 12-0 outburst before Lance Matosky finally put Centaurus on the board with a 3-pointer.

The Warriors hung with Broomfield for the remainder of the first half, but the Eagles put up 10 consecutive points to start the third quarter while never allowing Centaurus to get a good look at the basket.

Kihn had eight points and three steals in the quarter.

“He and Chad Jukkala came out, I thought that second half especially, really taking a stand, moving their feet and putting pressure on those guards just to get the ball up the court,” Eagles coach Terrence Dunn said. “We talk about being easy to please and hard to satisfy, and we talk about that good is the enemy of great. I think that these kids want to be great; they’re not satisfied with being good.”

Gullicksrud was highly complimentary of Broomfield’s defense after the game.

“We haven’t seen anything like this in terms of this season. This is the best defensive team we’ve seen by far,” he said. “They mix it up a little between some of their man looks and zone, but regardless of what they’re in, they’re intense and they’re flying around.”

Broomfield visits Niwot on Tuesday evening, wrapping up the first run through the Northern League. A one-point comeback victory over Thompson Valley on Jan.18 generated some confidence after an up-and-down December, but the Eagles understand there is still plenty of basketball yet to be played.

“We feel really good but we need to start going,” Kihn said. “Nothing’s going to be handed to us. We’ve got to work and we’ve got to grind.”

Broomfield 68, Centaurus 22

At Broomfield HS

CENTAURUS (3-12, 0-6)

Puckett 2 0-0 5, Milano 2 0-2 4, Bradford 2 0-0 4, Matosky 1 0-0 3,Jordan 1 0-0 3, Taudien 1 0-2 2, DeVries 0 1-2 1. … Totals 9 1-6 22.

BROOMFIELD (11-3, 6-0)

Reed 11 1-1 25, Kihn 3 6-6 12, Perse 4 2-2 10, McLain 5 0-0 10,Hull 1 2-2 4, Macrae 1 0-0 3, Jukkala 1 0-0 2, Wristen 1 0-0 2.. … Totals 27 11-11 68.

Score by quarters:

Centaurus 6 9 3 4 — 22

Broomfield 16 14 21 17 — 68

3-point field goals — Centaurus (3): Puckett, Jordan, Matosky; Broomfield (3): Reeb 2, Macrae. Fouled out — None. Technical fouls — None.