HENDERSON — Even a team loaded with sharpshooters can fall victim to an unforgiving rim every once in a while.
For the Boulder boys basketball team, a group that has, and will, continue to rely on precision marksmanship with the basketball outside the paint, no one in purple was immune to a cold spell in the second half of Saturday’s game at Prairie View.
Hustle defense never goes cold, however, and that was a lesson learned in the Panthers’ first game after the holiday break — a 62-54 victory that brought their record to 6-2 on the 2013-14 season. Getting hands on passes, creating turnovers and hauling in rebounds helped balance the scales against a scrappy ThunderHawks team looking to get their season back on track.
Boulder escaped a 5 for 20 performance from the field in the final 16 minutes by forcing turnovers at key times — particularly after Prairie View had cut the score to 44-40 with just about 1 minute to go in the third quarter. A team not known for being powerful on the boards either, the Panthers outrebounded PVHS 10-5 in the fourth frame, those few extra possessions leading to free throw opportunities and chances to extend that lead.
Boulder was able to put the game to rest at the line, hitting 15 of 18 free throws to notch another win.
“This was our lead into league play, so we had to get a good, solid win,” Boulder guard Bill DiScipio said, his team ready to begin Front Range League play with a Tuesday tilt against Monarch. “I think we did that today.”
Garrett Turner led Boulder with 29 points, and he was just about as hot as anyone can be in the first half after a 14-day layoff. Even though Prairie View played a 3-2 zone to start the game, Turner maneuvered his way into open space to go 4 for 4 from 3-point range on his way to 19 points in the first 16 minutes.
That kind of shooting was widespread in the first half. DiScipio, who had 14 for the game, hit 3 of 4 shots between the first and second quarters, and the Panthers went 12 for 22 as a team.
Still, they had to battle back from a significant deficit as Prairie View (2-7) came out determined, too. The ThunderHawks used scoring from all five starters to gain a 17-10 edge early, but the Panthers were finally able to take their first lead at 7:04 of the second with a Turner 3-pointer.
Tied at 26-26 with 5:17 left in the half, Boulder had another spurt of solid defense and held Prairie View without a point until the teams exited for the locker rooms. Prairie View found some easy buckets in the third quarter to keep it interesting after falling down 35-26 at half, but Boulder had just enough stops on defense to maintain a lead.
Collectively, the Panthers took the win knowing it was a Jekyll-and-Hyde effort. In light of the matchup with the Coyotes in just a couple of days, improvement is still the order of the day.
“I didn’t think we played very well before the break, and we kind of struggled through the break with some practices that weren’t very sharp, so this was a step in the right direction,” Boulder coach Eric Eisenhard said. “We’re still not playing where we’d like to be.”
“A win is always good. But defensively we still need to improve,” added Turner. “We shouldn’t be letting in that many points. We were giving up too many easy layups. We can’t get too high on ourselves, and we definitely need to pick up our game against teams like Monarch and Fairview. I know we can, though.”
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BOULDER 62, PRAIRIE VIEW 54
At Prairie View HS
Garrett Turner 7 10-11 29, Sterling Williams 1 0-0 2, Joe Szarmach 1 2-2 4, Jack Boyle 1 0-0 2, Morgan Hohlfelder 1 1-4 3, Bill DiScipio 4 4-4 14, Cooper Bohm 2 2-2 6, Collin Heimbach 0 2-2 2. Totals 17 21-25 62.
PRAIRIE VIEW (2-7)
Ramirez 3 1-1 9, Quezada 1 0-0 2, Balderama 2 0-2 4, Wahab 4 0-0 9, Schwindaman 6 8-9 23, Montoya 2 0-0 5, Burnett 1 0-0 2. Totals 19 9-12 54.
Score by quarters:
Boulder 16 19 11 16 — 62
Prairie View 17 8 16 12 — 54
3-point field goals — Boulder (7): Turner 5, DiScipio 2; Prairie View (7): Schwindaman 3, Ramirez 2, Wahab, Montoya. Fouled out — Balderama. Technical foul — Boulder bench.