BROOMFIELD — As the lone returning key contributor from last season’s Final Four team, Broomfield’s Alec McLain knew there would be growing pains.
Eagles coach Terrence Dunn did, as well.
But that doesn’t make the Eagles’ rough start any easier to swallow, any less frustrating. Broomfield dropped to 0-3 Friday night after a 70-64 home loss to 5A Lakewood.
In two of the three losses, the Eagles had a strong opportunity to seal the deal in the fourth quarter, but this fledgling squad is still learning how to close games.
“It’s going to take a little time,” McLain said. “We have nine new varsity players, so there’s a lot of inexperience. We just have to keep working.”
Broomfield also lost a tight one to Legacy in the season opener and endured a tough second half in a Game 2 loss to Lincoln. If there’s an immediate silver lining, it’s that all the losses are to 5A foes.
“We’re young, we’re so young, and we’re playing quality teams right now,” Dunn said. “We’re throwing in inexperienced players to play these quality teams. That team has a lot of seniors, and they know how to (close games), and we’re struggling at that.”
Adding to the challenge, starting point guard Logan McCormick has been diagnosed with a stress fracture and was on crutches. There is no timetable for his return.
Despite everything, the Eagles put themselves in position to capture a win.
Lakewood’s Fox Maikovich nailed a long 3-pointer — one of 10 on the night for the Tigers — in the waning moments of the third quarter to send the teams to the fourth knotted up 49-49.
A quick burst by the Tigers (1-1) put them in front 61-53, then things got ugly. It was a foul-fest from there, with both teams in the double bonus. Broomfield couldn’t make any headway in its comeback attempt because the game always seemed to be halted.
“It was definitely tough,” said McLain, who matched reserve Noah Dohm’s 13 points to lead the Eagles. “They were calling every foul. You can’t do anything about that.”
A combined six players fouled out in the fourth in a game that saw 54 whistles overall. The Eagles’ Payton Holloway converted an inside 3-point play to cut it to 64-60 with 1:34 to play, but Broomfield never got closer.
Holloway’s bucket actually served as Broomfield’s first field goal of the quarter, as everything else was done at the line. At one point, Lakewood coach Daryl Johnson jokingly asked the scorekeepers: “Have you run out of room to put all the fouls?”
Lakewood had fallen behind 19-2 in their opener against Highlands Ranch, so the Tigers didn’t sweat it when Broomfield controlled the tempo in the opening quarter. Kolton Peterson nailed four 3s and led the Tigers with 16 points, while Evan O’Dorsio and Irhad Kozic added 14 apiece.
Nate Lehnerz added 10 points for the Eagles, who next take on Liberty in Monday’s opening round of the Fairview Festival. While the slow start was not inconceivable to Dunn, he still feels it. The Eagles, after all, only lost five times all season last year.
“We have a program that’s been very good for a very long time,” he said. “We have expectations of getting to final fours and these guys have expectations of getting to final fours. That’s one thing I appreciate about them. So we have to figure out how to do that.”
Follow Paul on Twitter: twitter.com/PaulWillis21
Lakewood 70, Broomfield 64
At Broomfield HS
Kozic 4 5-7 14, Jimenez 1 0-0 3, O’Dorisio 4 5-6 14, Maikovich 2 2-2 8, Young 4 2-2 10, Hofmann 1 2-7 5, Peterson 4 4-4 16, Rotter 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 20-28 70.
Morris 2 2-4 6, Lehnerz 4 2-4 10, McLain 5 0-0 13, Holloway 2 5-7 9, Wristen 0 4-5 4, Williamson 1 1-2 3, Dohm 3 6-7 13, Burgesser 0 0-0 0, Grennan 3 0-0 6. Totals 20 20-29 64.
Score by quarters:
Lakewood 16 21 12 21 — 70
Broomfield 20 12 17 15 — 64
3-point field goals — Lakewood (10): Peterson 4, Maikovich 2, Kozic, Hofmann, Jimenez, O’Dorisio; Broomfield (4): McLain 3, Dohm. Total fouls — Lakewood 29, Broomfield 25. Fouled out — Jimenez, O’Dorisio, Maikovich, Morris, Lehnerz, Holloway.