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Longmont's Kevin Mitchell goes to work against Frederick's Michael Broz during the Trojans' overtime win on Friday.
Matthew Jonas
Longmont’s Kevin Mitchell goes to work against Frederick’s Michael Broz during the Trojans’ overtime win on Friday.

LONGMONT — Supported by crutches, Longmont’s two senior starters Austin Kemp and Brett Sterkel watched from the sideline as the basketball team warmed up to face Frederick on Friday night.

With the Trojans’ two senior leaders absent from the lineup, someone else had to come up big against the visiting Warriors. Sophomore Justinian Jessup stepped seamlessly into the leading role.

Blazing hot out of the gate and clutch at the line in overtime, Jessup led the Trojans to a 64-56 win.

“We knew it was going to be tough without those two because they’re both scorers,” said Jessup, who poured in a game-high 23 points. “Before the game coach (Jeff) Kloster told us to just go out and play. We went out and played. That’s all we did.”

Both tournament teams last season, the Trojans entered Friday’s game ranked seventh in the CHSAANow.com preseason poll while Frederick received votes but did not crack the top 10. But the Warriors made a late run in a Trojans win last season, so Jessup and the host Trojans knew the threat they posed.

The Trojans were ready.

Jessup, who averaged 8.9 points per game last season, shot 6 for 7 from the field in the first half to build a comfortable halftime lead. When the Warriors surged back in the second half to force overtime, he shot 5 for 6 at the charity stripe to seal the win.

“We played a terrific 16 minutes in the first half but Frederick made good adjustments at halftime,” Kloster said. “Justinian hit some key free throws at the end of the ball game. There are times when you’ve got to get the ball into your best player’s hands and he’s got to take over the ball game. I thought he did that at those critical times.”

Kloster said the Trojans’ 21-13 rebounding advantage was a major reason they won. That, and contributions from juniors Clint Sigg (14 points, 6 rebounds) and Blake O’Grady, who hit back-to-back baskets to give the Trojans the early lead in overtime.

O’Grady transferred from Frederick to Longmont after his freshman year. Jessup may have driven the nail in the coffin, but O’Grady swung the hammer first.

“We let them get the edge and we needed to come out explosive in overtime,” O’Grady said. “Our crowd really helped and we played well as a team. It was good to come out and get a win against them.”

Scoreless at halftime, Warriors senior Alex Therrien hit five 3-pointers and scored 22 points after the break to pace the comeback. He scored 16 of the Warriors’ 19 points in the fourth quarter and extra time.

The Warriors’ Jayden McGraw (12 points), Ryan Yancey (10) and Austin Rivera (10) scored in double digits. Despite their effort, Therrien said the Warriors couldn’t overcome the Trojans yet again.

“I don’t know what it is against Longmont, it’s just mental, I think,” Therrien said. “We always feel like we can beat them but we don’t seem to play them as well as we can. We gave up a quick run but we bounced back and gave it our best shot. I realized I needed to help the team and I couldn’t go zero points and I had to do as much as I could to help the team.”

Awaiting MRIs for both players, Kloster said Kemp (foot) and Sterkel (ankle) could be out 3-6 weeks or longer. He only hopes their absence will make the Trojans a stronger team by their return.

“The good thing for us is we found a way to win with a lot of young kids,” Kloster said. “We had one senior play tonight. We don’t know how long these kids are going to be out but we’re going to have to have a lot of kids grow up quick. Hopefully by January, February, having had to do this early on, they know how to get the job done.”

Follow Brad on Twitter at twitter.com/BradCochi

Longmont 64, Frederick 56

At Longmont HS

FREDERICK (1-1)

Lowney 0 0-0 0, Yancey 3 2-2 10, McGraw 4 4-7 12, Broz 0 0-2 0, Rivera 4 0-0 10, Therrien 7 3-3 22, Hiser 0 0-0 0, Dufour 0 0-0 0, Kolanowski 1 0-0 2. Totals 19 9-14 56.

LONGMONT (2-0)

Sullivan 1 2-2 4, Jessup 8 5-6 23, Speidel 1 0-1 3, Rothe 0 0-0 0, Sigg 5 4-7 14, O’Grady 3 2-3 9, Mitchell 2 3-5 7, Wilkey 2 0-0 4, Rivera 0 0-0 0. Totals 22 16-24 64.

Score by quarters:

Frederick 4 16 17 12 7 — 56

Longmont 16 18 6 9 15 — 64

3-point field goals — Frederick (9): Therrien 5, Rivera 2, Yancey 2; Longmont (4): Jessup 2, Speidel, O’Grady. Total fouls — Frederick 21, Longmont 17. Fouled out — O’Grady. Technical fouls — None.

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