NIWOT — When the Longmont-area boys basketball teams play king of the hill, there’s no question who wears the crown.
The Longmont Trojans continued the domination of their local rivals on Tuesday night with a 50-32 rout of host Niwot, which gave LHS the season sweep of the series against the Cougars.
In fact, Tuesday marked Longmont’s 12th consecutive victory over Niwot — dating back more than six years — but it doesn’t stop there. The Trojans have defeated Longmont city rival Silver Creek nine straight times and Skyline at least that many in a row.
“It’s always big beating a crosstown rival,” said senior Marcus Johnson, who shared team scoring honors with freshman Justinian Jessup at 13 points each. “People (from LHS) come out to away games against rivals. We usually don’t have a crowd for a (typical) away game, so it’s always really cool. It’s important to us to be city champs. That’s one of our goals for this season.”
At 13-4 and 6-3 in the Northern League, the Trojans have bigger things in mind as well, but taking care of business against crosstown foes is high on their priority list.
“I guess one of the things we try to emphasize with the kids is the pride factor of being known as one of the best area basketball teams,” LHS coach Jeff Kloster said. “One of our goals each year is to be city champs. I think it’s something the kids cherish.”
And while Tuesday’s victory certainly wasn’t a thing of beauty, it was effective. Longmont bolted out to a 12-0 lead and never trailed. And when it was all over, the Trojans had held Niwot to 32 points, a season-low for an LHS opponent.
Longmont consistently pressured the ball and stayed in the passing lanes, forcing Niwot into 22 turnovers.
“I thought the defense really dictated the outcome of the game,” Kloster said, noting that a player who didn’t score, junior Brett Sterkel, helped shut down Niwot. “At the beginning we went out with that 12-0 run and it kind of set the tone.”
Niwot (5-12, 1-8), in losing for the ninth time in the last 10 games, shot just 28.6 percent from the field and couldn’t put together the run it needed to catch Longmont after the slow start. The Cougars remain winless at home this season (0-4).
“We play pretty good ‘D’ night in and night out, but we struggle offensively doing some of the fundamental things, and that’s on me as the coach,” NHS’ Travis Maron said.
Niwot made more 3-point field goals on Tuesday (six) than 2s (four). Junior Kyle Kolakowski nailed four treys en route to scoring half of the Cougars’ points (16).
For Longmont, junior Austin Kemp (nine points) saw his streak of 20-plus-point games end at five, but the Trojans didn’t need a lot of firepower on this night.
The Trojans have now won seven of their last eight games.
“Everything is just clicking right now,” Johnson said. “One night we’ll have Austin going off, another night it’ll be Justinian. We have a bunch of people who can score, and everything is just working right now.”
But now Longmont will face a major test as it will host Northern League-leading Broomfield on Friday. Niwot will be at Silver Creek.
Longmont 50, Niwot 32
At Niwot HS
LONGMONT (13-4, 6-3)
Alaniz 0 0-0 0, Jessup 5 2-2 13, Kemp 4 1-3 9, Sullivan 0 0-0 0, Johnson 4 5-6 13, O’Grady 1 0-0 2, Speidel 1 4-6 6, Sterkel 0 0-0 0, Donaldson 1 5-8 7. Totals 16 17-25 50.
NIWOT (5-12, 1-8)
Hart 1 0-0 2, Lee 0 1-1 1, Merriman 3 0-0 8, Kolakowski 6 0-0 16, Coldwell 0 0-0 0, Keeler 0 1-2 1, Bounds 0 4-5 4, Mitelhaus 0 0-0 0. Totals 10 6-8 32.
Score by quarters:
Longmont 14 7 14 15 — 50
Niwot 7 5 7 13 — 32
3-point field goals — Longmont (1): Jessup; Niwot (6): Kolakowski 4, Merriman 2. Total fouls — Longmont 10, Niwot 19. Fouled out — none. Technical fouls — none.