Jonathan Castner
Boulder’s Tommy Baumgartner drives to the basket during the Panthers’ Front Range League win against Legacy.

BOULDER — Over the past few seasons, Boulder boys basketball coach Eric Eisenhard has grown weary of watching Legacy often torch his Panthers with a steady diet of dribble-drives that end with wide-open 3-pointers.

On Thursday, Boulder made sure to finally bottle up the Lightning’s approach.

Unleashing an inspired defensive effort that helped the Panthers build a comfortable early lead, Boulder opened its Front Range League schedule by recording a 55-41 victory against the visiting Lightning.

“We try to put pressure on everything and play 85 feet of defense,” Eisenhard said. “When we can do that, we typically can get some easy scores off our defense and get a little rhythm going, a little confidence.

“Historically, we’ve struggled to guard Legacy’s dribble-drive and motion. They’re very good at getting the ball in the paint against us, and we did a good job against that tonight. For the most part, we managed to keep the ball outside the paint.”

Boulder (4-1) never trailed after scoring nine consecutive points in the first quarter, taking a 15-5 edge at the end of the first and extending the advantage to 31-15 at halftime.

While the Panthers displayed admirable balance on offense — 10 different Boulder players landed in the scoring column — it was the Panthers’ defense that made the difference. Legacy made only 6 of 17 shots in the first half and remained within striking distance only because half of those successful field goals were 3-pointers.

“We like to pick up the pace and keep it going fast and wear the other team out,” said Boulder senior Joe Szarmach. “The game plan was to keep the ball in front of us and not let them kick it out for the three’s. They didn’t really hit many three’s tonight, so we played good D.”

Legacy (3-2) kept trying to claw its way back into the game, trimming Boulder’s lead to 11 points late in the third quarter and edging to within nine early a few minutes into the fourth. The Panthers, however, had an answer each time, including a 6-0 burst midway through the fourth that kept the shackles on Legacy’s comeback hopes.

Junior guard Garrett Turner made all five of his free throw attempts and finished with a team-leading 14 points for the Panthers, while Szarmach added 10.

Andrew Hebel paced Legacy with 11 points. Trenton Johnson and Jacob Royer scored eight points apiece.

“They’re a pretty good-shooting team, so we wanted them to force up shots instead of just kicking it out for an open three,” Turner said. “We’re not the biggest team, so all of us have to work hard in practice every day. Without every one of our guys there would be no way we could run this offense. If we’re going to run full-court man press the whole game we need subs, and we have 12 kids who can play.”

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LEGACY (3-2)

Ball 0 0-1 0, Hebel 4 2-2 11, Johnson 3 0-0 8, J. Royer 3 2-2 8, McDonald 1 0-0 2, D. Royer 1 0-2 2, Converse 4 0-0 10, Salazar 0 0-0 0, Jensen 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 4-7 41.


Szarmach 3 2-2 10, Turner 4 5-5 14, DiScipio 2 0-0 4, Bohm 1 0-1 2, Blessing 3 0-0 6, Baumgartner 1 0-0 2, Hohlfelder 2 0-1 4, Williams 3 0-0 7, Feiler 0 0-0 0, Mitchell 1 0-0 2, Heimbach 2 0-0 4, Gallagher 0 0-0 0. Totals 22 7-9 55.

Score by quarters:

Legacy 5 10 14 12 — 41

Boulder 15 16 11 13 — 55

3-point field goals — Legacy (5): Converse 2, Johnson 2, Hebel; Boulder (4): Szarmach 2, Turner, Williams. Total fouls — Legacy 16, Boulder 14.