LOVELAND — Collin Smith is definitely the purest shooter on the top-ranked team in Class 4A boys basketball, and the deeper the season goes, the more he’s making his case as one of Colorado’s best.
And he’s not new to the scene, which makes it all the more agonizing when you plan for his game and still can’t stop it.
Longmont prepared. Yet the Trojans still couldn’t contain the Thompson Valley senior.
Behind Smith’s 30 points on 12 of 17 shooting, including five 3-pointers, the Colorado Associated Press No. 1 Eagles bested No. 8 Longmont 61-51, a contest that started fast and ended the same way.
“We didn’t account for their shooters. Collin Smith is a heck of good ball player, we gave him some looks and he drained them,” Longmont coach Jeff Kloster said. “When a kid hits 30 points on you, that really raises my hair because we take pride in our defense. We didn’t account for two players, and they burned us.”
Smith put on a clinic, even one that Longmont players could appreciate in defeat. He scored 11 in the first half, but even as Longmont made some defensive adjustments knowing he was hitting shots, he hit all four of his shots in the third and then three more in the fourth.
“We made our adjustments at halftime, but we didn’t get out on him and he nailed a couple of big three’s,” said Clint Sigg, who helped buoy the Longmont offense with 14 points off seven field goals. “He made some key shots.”
The Trojans will look back at this game knowing that despite Smith’s effort, they had the Eagles (13-1, 6-0 league) on the ropes. They overcame a poor second quarter that spilled over to the third, and battled back from a 34-25 deficit with about 13 minutes of basketball left.
After Smith had an emphatic transition dunk with 55 seconds to go in the third, making the score 40-35, the Trojans went on a 9-3 run with Sigg, David Speidel and Justinian Jessup all contributing offensively to the run that gave the visitors a 44-43 lead with 5:19 left.
Smith and Jessup traded 3-pointers to make it 47-46 Trojans, and that’s when the run ended for the Trojans (11-3, 5-1). With 3:02 left, Thompson Valley’s Mike Olivas made a perfect feed to Austin Dyer for a layup, and Smith tacked on his final 3-pointer after Jessup was called for an offensive foul, making it 51-47.
With 1:57 left and still the slim four-point lead, Thompson Valley’s Estevan Garcia opened the door for Longmont to creep closer by missing two free throws, but the Trojans turned it over on the rebound, and it ended up in Smith’s hands for an uncontested layup.
Olivas (4 for 4) and Grant Rohrbouck (4 for 4) finished off the Trojans, who also missed a couple of free throws down the stretch.
“I’ve got to take that on myself,” Sigg said after missing all three of his free throw attempts. “We’re not broken, though. We have to come back next game and get it done.”
Added Kloster: “You have to be able to win the little things to be able to win a game like this, and (Thompson Valley) won the little things. We only had seven attempts, but we had three at a time in the game when we could have extended our lead and we missed them.”
Austin Kemp finished with 12 points and Jessup had 11 for the Trojans, and Sigg added five rebounds.
Smith was also a force defensively, adding eight rebounds and two blocks.
“We needed him big tonight,” TVHS coach Josh Robinson said. “He’s shot a little bit inconsistent over the last few games, but tonight he played like I know he could.”
Thompson Valley 61, Longmont 51
At Thompson Valley HS
LONGMONT (11-3, 5-1)
Brett Sterkel 1 0-0 3, Justinian Jessup 4 0-1 11, David Speidel 2 2-2 7, Austin Kemp 5 1-1 12, Clint Sigg 7 0-3 14, Kevin Mitchell 2 0-0 4. Totals 21 3-7 51.
THOMPSON VALLEY (13-1, 6-0)
Shaw 1 0-0 2, Olivas 2 4-4 9, Rohrbouck 3 4-4 12, Laws 1 0-0 2, Garcia 0 0-2 0, Dyer 3 0-1 6, Smith 12 1-2 30. Totals 22 9-13 61.
Score by quarters:
Longmont 14 4 20 13 — 51
Thompson Valley17 10 13 21 — 61
3-point field goals — Longmont (6): Jessup 3, Sterkel, Speidel, Kemp; Thompson Valley (8): Smith 5, Rohrbouck 2, Olivas.