BOULDER — Annika Lai and Sarah Kaufman took turns dominating.
Lai finished the game way she started it – on a scoring spree – and Kaufman owned the middle quarters Friday night to help the Fairview girls basketball team to a 52-35 home win against Fort Collins.
Lai scored 18 of her game-best 20 points in the first and fourth quarters and Kaufman, who has battled an upper respiratory ailment, scored all 15 of her points in the second and third in the key Class 5A Front Range League win.
“Offensively, we really didn’t talk about taking turns, but we stepped up in different parts of the game,” said Kaufman, who will play at Middlebury College next season. “It was good.”
Lai typically is a shooting guard/small forward for the Knights (11-6, 7-3). But with Kaufman coming off the bench in an effort to limit her minutes, Lai started at point guard. At 6-foot-1, the junior proved to be a tough matchup for the Lambkins defense.
“Sarah came off the bench and just did what she usually does, especially in that second quarter,” Lai said. “Her and I just both looked for our shots the whole game and it worked out perfectly that we both got our points dispersed.”
Fairview kept pace in an increasingly competitive league that features a variety of playoff hopefuls. The Knights entered the contest in a third-place tie with Monarch and with a win in hand against the Coyotes.
The Knights held a precarious four-point lead at the half, but routed the Lambkins (8-9, 5-5) in the second half. In the pivotal third quarter, Fairview owned a 17-9 scoring advantage.
“One, we knew we left some points off the boards with some missed layups,” Fairview coach Rod Beauchamp said. “Two, we wanted to do a little better job with their ball screens, so we addressed that. And we set some better screens offensively ourselves.”
Sarah Gordon chipped in with three 3-pointers for the Knights, including two in the second half to help Fairview pull away.
Fort Collins received a solid outing from senior Payton Humpal, who scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds, but she was the only Lambkins player in double figures.
“This is a really competitive conference, so all these games are really important,” Kaufman said.
Lai got most of her points on drives to the hoop, but ended the first quarter with a buzzer-beater from about 18 feet out. She understands that point guard won’t be her regular position, at least not this season, but is relishing the opportunity.
She served as the closer in the fourth, helping cement things with a 10-point quarter.
“It just felt like they were getting tired and we still had a lot of energy,” Lai said. “So, playing point guard I tried to help my teammates get shots and I looked for my shots. We kept playing hard on the defensive end, and that’s why we got some fast breaks.”
For Beauchamp, it was a coach’s dream watching one of his two top scorers having the hot hand at all points in the contest – without forcing it.
“I thought we distributed the ball well and played patiently,” he said. “Sarah Kaufman’s obviously been under the weather, and we have a lot of girls like that so we’re hoping we don’t have whooping cough. We’re just trying to get healthy, and we’re certainly satisfied about this win.”
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Fairview 52, Fort Collins 35
At Fairview HS
FORT COLLINS (8-9, 5-5)
Sluss 1 0-0 2, Thurgood 2 3-4 7, Humpal 4 8-9 18, Tafoya 4 0-3 8, Duff 0 0-0 0, Hunt 0 0-0 0, Leone 0 0-0 0, Dietrich 0 0-0 0, Dern 0 0-0 0. Totals 11 11-13 35.
FAIRVIEW (11-6, 7-3)
Lai 9 2-2 20, Miley 1 0-0 2, Gordon 3 0-0 9, McKee 0 2-4 2, Davenport 1 0-0 2, Kuosman 0 0-0 0, Tidstrom 0 0-0 0, Gould 0 0-0 0, Vickers 0 2-2 2, Wolf 0 0-0 0, Mooz 0 0-0 0, Kaufman 6 2-2 15. Totals 20 8-10 52.
Score by quarters:
Fort Collins 9 7 9 10 — 35
Fairview 12 8 17 15 — 52
3-point field goals — Fort Collins (2): Humpal 2; Fairview (4): Gordon 3, Kaufman. Total fouls — Fairview 16, Fort Collins 10.