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Niwot's Callie Hensen fires a jump shot over Erie's Haley Gallagher during Erie's 45-28 win Thursday night.
Niwot’s Callie Hensen fires a jump shot over Erie’s Haley Gallagher during Erie’s 45-28 win Thursday night.


ERIE — The teams were moving in opposite directions. The Niwot girls basketball team already had exceeded its win total from each of the past two seasons while Erie was struggling mightily out of the gates.

On Thursday night, that script flipped.

Erie looked like the team that entered with momentum, as the Tigers crashed the boards mercilessly en route to a 45-28 Class 4A non-league home win.

The Tigers (2-3) outrebounded the upstart Cougars 44-25, including a game-best 16 boards from Serena Gudino. The senior scored a pedestrian 10 points, but that output was fine for coach Noel Potter from his leading scorer.

“That’s what she needs to learn to understand,” Potter said. “The importance of the boards and that this game is about how many points you score as a team, not individually.”

Niwot (4-2) led 19-17 late in the first half, but it was all Erie from there. The Tigers scored the final seven points of the half — the burst was capped by a 3-pointer from Darby Berringer just before the horn — and then scored the first seven points of the second half.

Niwot’s Anna Dunnel (team-bests of 11 points and eight rebounds) finally broke the Cougars’ drought with a jumper in the lane with 2 minutes, 10 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

Erie limited Niwot to nine points in the second half.

“We definitely meshed tonight and played as a team,” Erie junior Aly Romey said. “Everyone did something well, something to contribute. It shows us the potential we have for this season.”

Erie had sparks up and down the lineup. Reserve guard Amberlyn Purcell scored all seven of her points in the opening 90 seconds of the fourth quarter, including a 3-pointer from the wing. Romey followed with a 3-point play underneath, and the Tigers were rolling with a 43-27 lead.

Haley Gallagher added eight points on the inside, and the Tigers played solid team defense throughout.

“The defense, they’re starting to get a little understanding of it,” Potter said. “The biggest thing is, if they’re going to shoot from the hip area, we have to stay off them and not foul. A little more discipline.”

Niwot won only three games apiece each of the past two seasons with 39 losses in that span, but the Cougars are resurrecting things with the reacquisition of longtime coach Terri Ward.

Although the Cougars are having success early, it’s still a work in progress.

“I just told them that we can’t turn the ball over 27 times and win,” Ward said. “That really hurt us. The thing that’s hard for us now is we’re trying to change the attitude. Last year, they’d be down four or five points and they were done. We’re learning to fight through it.”

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Erie 45, Niwot 28

At Erie HS

NIWOT (4-2)

Montgomery 1 2-3 4, Hensen 1 0-1 2, Sarosi 0 0-0 0, Dunnell 5 1-2 11, Albert 0 0-0 0, Chen 0 2-6 2, McCaffrey 1 0-0 2, Pilewski 2 1-2 5, Jenkins 1 0-1 2, Mercier 0 0-0 0. Totals 11 6-15 28.

ERIE (2-3)

Bauchert 2 0-0 4, Gallagher 4 0-0 8, Kudrna 1 0-2 2, Romey 2 2-3 6, Gudino 2 6-8 10, Gabel 0 0-0 0, Purcell 2 2-3 7, Farineau 0 0-1 0, Berringer 2 0-0 5, Turner 0 3-6 3. Totals 15 13-23 45.

Score by quarters:

Niwot 10 9 5 4 — 28

Erie 15 9 9 12 — 45


3-point field goals — Niwot (0); Erie (2): Purcell, Berringer. Total fouls — Niwot 17, Erie 15.