LAFAYETTE — The Peak to Peak Pumas have seen what the best in the state has to offer.
They held their own against the likes of No. 1 Pagosa Springs and No. 2 Holy Family — albeit losses — and have a blueprint for success in the coming weeks.
On Wednesday night against Faith Christian, the Pumas looked every bit the contender for the first 8 minutes. Coach Chad Ruthbun’s team couldn’t miss, they forced turnovers and were up 18-0 before the band had time to warm up.
“There was a stretch there in the last 4 minutes of the second quarter where we just started lollygagging,” he said.
The AP media poll’s fourth-ranked Pumas let their foot off the gas pedal for a little bit, something they know they can’t do against if they want to be in the mix next month at the 3A state tournament at the Air Fore Academy. The put it back in gear and won easily 62-28 over the Eagles.
“We have to get all 12 players cooking and we have to be playing our best basketball over the next month,” Rathbun said. “Little letdowns like that can’t happen against the good teams and we have to keep up that effort for the whole game.”
The opening 4 minutes were a thing of beauty for the Pumas on both ends of the floor. The forced seven first-quarter turnovers with their press, got to the basket and hit just about everything they put up.
Katharine Kia and Michaela Wildbacher combined to score 19 of Peak to Peak’s 25 first-quarter points.
“That was really fun and we definitely fed off of that energy,” said Kia, who finished with a game-high 23 points. “I think we got tired though, because we came out pretty tired in the second.”
In the locker room, the Pumas placed an emphasis on the defensive end and senior Annette Warner heard that loud and clear. With Faith trying to push the ball inside to Hannah Cook, the 6-foot Warner held her ground against the 5-foot-7 Cook and blocked five shots.
Cook scored the only four points in the quarter for Faith Christian (7-9 overall, 3-4 in the Metro League) and the Pumas piled it on, eventually outscoring the Eagles 29-9 in the second half.
“We came out strong and put them away,” Kia said. “Now the focus is one game at a time and every game counts from this point on. We just look at the next game on the schedule and not too far ahead.”
In addition to Kia’s 23-point outburst, Wildbacher finished with 14 points and Warner added 12. It was just the kind of balance that Rathbun liked to see and is hopeful the next few weeks will produce the same kind of output.
“I think we have a great team and I think we can go a long way,” he said. “I think if we can put it all together here at the end of the season, we can do something.”
Senior Hannah Hock led the Eagles with eight points.
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Peak to Peak 62, Faith Christian 28
At Peak to Peak
FAITH CHRISTIAN (7-9, 3-4)
Hannah Cook 2 0-2 4, Cassaundra Rindels 1 0-0 3, Hannah Hock 4 0-0 8, Lacey Henry 1 0-0 2, Makena Long 1 0-0 3, Carsen Cambier 1 2-3 4, Macey Pearman 1 0-1 2, Lily Zellmer 0 0-0 0, Abby Zellmer 1 0-0 2, Candace Lowe 0 0-0 0. Totals 12 2-6 28.
PEAK TO PEAK (13-4, 6-2)
Casey McClure 1 0-0 2, Bri Wetmore 3 0-0 6, Kenna Hazzard 0 0-0 0, Erica Howard 1 0-0 3, Katharine Kia 9 3-4 23, Smriti Malhotra 0 0-0 0, Annette Warner 6 0-1 12, Kyla Hilty 0 0-0 0, Michaela Wildbacher 6 1-1-14, Sarah Martinez 1 0-0 2. Totals 27 4-6 62.
Score by quarters:
Faith Christian 10 9 4 5 — 28
Peak to Peak 25 8 14 15 — 62
3-point field goals — Faith Christian (2): Rindels, Long; Peak to Peak (4): Kia 2, Howard, Wildbacher. Total fouls — Faith Christian 8; Peak to Peak 10.