ERIE — The Frederick boys basketball players have to steel themselves to face a loud crowd and a tough team each time it crosses I-25 to take on rival Erie High School.
On Tuesday night, the visiting Warriors won the latest installment of the local 4A Tri-Valley League rivalry series 59-55 over the Tigers.
Warriors senior Austin Rivera said Frederick faced a long list of challenges against the Tigers, including a foreign gym, hostile crowd and an early deficit against one of the best shooting teams in the state. But the Warriors got the job done and remain one of the early contenders for the conference title.
“This is huge because of course they’re our rivals, but they’re also one of the top teams in the conference,” Rivera said. “They’re a good team and it’s hard coming out here in this type of atmosphere with both crowds just screaming and screaming. But we came out and stayed strong.”
Along with Windsor, Mead and Northridge, both the Warriors and Tigers are in the early hunt for the Tri-Valley League title this season.
After Erie led 22-15 midway through the second quarter, Frederick went on an 11-0 run, which ended in Rivera hitting a buzzer-beater, to take a 26-22 lead in the locker room at halftime. The Tigers cut the Warriors’ lead to one point twice in the third quarter and trailed by four with one minute left and three with 28 seconds left.
Though Frederick made just 15 of 27 free-throw attempts in the game, shooting 9 for 16 at the line in the fourth quarter proved enough to preserve the narrow lead. Rivera scored 12 of his game-high 21 points in the fourth quarter.
“They’re one of the top teams in the conference so getting that win, especially on their home court, is big,” Frederick senior Alex Therrien said. “We had a lot of energy coming off last week’s win over Northridge and we’re starting to come together as a team. That’s the biggest factor. It shows that we can beat anyone in the conference.”
Therrien scored 12 points, senior Michael Broz scored 10 and junior point guard Mikail Lowney scored eight for Frederick.
Erie (7-3, 1-2 Tri-Valley), who had won five of their previous six games before Tuesday, fell below .500 in conference play while the Warriors (7-3, 2-1) moved up into third place.
Junior Kyle Leahy led the Tigers with 16 points and senior point guard Joel Smith scoured 12. Dylan Brink, who leads the Tigers with 18.8 points per game and scored 12 against the Warriors, said the Tigers will need to get back on track before they play at Mead (5-6, 2-1 Tri-Valley) on Friday and host eighth-ranked Longmont (9-1, 3-0 Northern League) on Saturday.
“It was a tough one, for sure. We never like to lose to those guys,” Brink said. “There were definitely moments when we had lapses defensively and lacked in energy. I’m not sure really why. But we played through the runs, we came back a little bit and we felt like we could win the whole time so that was good.
“If there is such a thing as a good loss, hopefully this will motivate us to work harder today and in the coming week and be ready for our next two games.”
Frederick will continue its four-game road stretch against Berthoud (4-7, 0-3 Tri-Valley) on Friday. The Warriors and Erie will face each other again on Feb. 7.
Frederick 59, Erie 55
At Erie H.S.
FREDERICK (7-3, 2-1)
Lowney 3 2-4 8, Lebon 1 0-0 3, Yancey 0 0-2 0, Broz 4 1-2 10, Rivera 7 6-8 21, Doud 0 0-0 0, Therrien 3 5-9 12, Dufour 2 1-2 5. Totals 10 15-27 59.
ERIE (7-3, 1-2)
Smith 5 0-0 12, Leahy 6 2-6 16, C. Brink 0 0-3 0, D. Brink 5 0-0 12, Berringer 0 0-0 0, Campbell 1 0-2 2, Egan 1 5-6 7, Melton 0 0-0 0, Tallman 3 0-0 6. Totals 21 7-17 55.
Score by quarters:
Frederick 11 15 15 18 — 59
Erie 14 8 15 18 — 55
3-point field goals — Frederick (4): Lebon, Broz, Rivera, Therrien; Erie (6): Smith 2, Leahy 2, D. Brink 2. Total fouls — Frederick 16, Erie 18.