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Boys basketball: Broomfield knocks off Niwot in Fairview Festival

BROOMFIELD — If panic had set in at Broomfield after the 0-3 start, it didn’t show.

“The mentality we have is to stay together as a team, don’t spread apart and forget the individual stuff,” sophomore Nate Lehnerz said. “It’s basically staying strong, staying together and working hard.”

That trifecta was the key to success on Wednesday night in the semifinals of the Fairview Festival against Niwot. The Eagles played relentless defense, contesting just about everything that the Cougars threw up, and easily moved into the title game with a 63-40 win.

“I’m proud of them. We kind of weathered the storm last week. We’ve ratcheted up our defensive effort,” Broomfield coach Terrence Dunn said, “and they are playing well and playing together.”

Led by Jake Morris and Lehnerz, the Broomfield guards hounded the Cougars beyond the perimeter, and not only did they not allow a clean look at the basket, they made the simplest of passes become a chore.

The Cougars didn’t turn the ball over much, but they were unable to knock down what few open looks they had and had a tough time on the boards against the Broomfield post players.

“Our offense is completely out of sync. We haven’t really quite figured out how to take care of the ball first and foremost,” said first-year Niwot coach Enoch Miller. “We are not playing with a lot of confidence at all offensively and when you don’t see the ball go through the bucket, it’s tough to defend long rebounds and turnovers just kill you.”

After the rough start in the opening week, Eagles senior Alec McLain has found his rhythm in the first two games at Fairview. After a 28-point outburst in the first round, overtime win against Liberty, McLain again found his stroke against the Cougars, finishing with 23 points.

McLain scored 10 points in the third quarter when the Eagles finally started to put some separation between themselves and the Cougars.

“It’s feeling a lot better, the offense is coming together and the shots are coming easier,” said McLain, whose team will meet Fairview on Friday night at 8 p.m. for the tournament championship. “They were still double teaming, but we were working together.”

Said Dunn of McLain’s effort: “He’s a pretty darn good scorer and he’s working hard with learning how to come of screens. He’s doing a good job of reading the defense and he’s starting to figure out the difference between good shots and bad shots and when to say no and get a better one later on.”

Broomfield (2-3) spread it around offensively. After McLain’s 23, Lehnerz had 13 and Morris had nine.

Niwot’s 6-foot-5 senior Clarke Colwell took a nasty spill in the second quarter, never really recovered, and spent a majority of the second half on the bench with ice on his lower back. Colwell, Justin Lee and Jonny Drake all had eight points to lead the Cougars (2-3).

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Broomfield 63, Niwot 40

At Fairview HS


Sam Foster 0 3-4 3, Josh Williamson 0 2-2 2, Jake Morris 3 3-6 9, Nate Lehnerz 5 1-3 13, Jack Burgesser 2 0-1 5, Noah Dohm 1 0-0 3, Alec McLain 7 5-6 23, Payton Holloway 0 2-4 2, Zach Grennan 0 0-0 0, Michael Wristen 1 1-3 3. Totals 19 17-29 63.

NIWOT (2-3)

Mason Lopez 0 0-0 0, Justin lee 3 2-2 8, Jonny Drake 1 5-6 8, Charlie Mitelhaus 0 0-2 0, Walker Bounds 1 0-0 2, Kyle Kolakowski 2 1-2 7, Trey Hill 0 0-0 0, Ryan Kannegeiter 1 0-0 2, Clarke Colwell 2 3-4 8, Jason Seper 0 2-2 2, Brendan Gray 1 0-3 3. Totals 11 13-21 40.

Score by quarters:

Broomfield 14 13 17 19 — 63

Niwot 9 10 10 11 — 40

3-point field goals — Broomfield (8): McLain 4, Lehnerz 2, Burgesser, Dohm; Niwot (5): Kolakowski 2, Drake, Colwell, Gray. Total fouls — Broomfield 20, Niwot 23.

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