WINDSOR — Some wondered after a 7-16 regular season if the Broomfield boys basketball team even deserved a chance to be in the Class 4A playoff field.
On Wednesday night the Eagles were playing with house money and nearly took advantage of their second chance against Windsor.
The Eagles, seeded No. 12 in the Maceo Brodnax Jr. Region of the bracket, were unable to hold on to their eight-point halftime lead and lost 61-52 to the Wizards.
“I told the kids after the game, that with very few exceptions all year, I’ve been happy with them playing hard,” said Eagles coach Terrence Dunn, whose team endured the first losing season in 30 years at Broomfield. “We’ve had a tough year. There have been times with practice that I haven’t been happy with them and other times when I haven’t been happy.
“But when they get on the court, they tend to leave it all out there. And that is one thing I am pretty proud of them for.”
Broomfield, who knocked the Wizards out of the state tournament a year ago in the Sweet 16, had everything working in the first half. In the second quarter, the Eagles caught a massive break when Windsor’s leading scorer, 6-foot-7 senior Dalton Walker, picked up his third foul with 4:02 to play and had to sit the rest of the half.
With Walker on the bench, the Wizards had no go-to scorer and in fact didn’t score in the quarter until the 2 minute, 30 second mark of the frame. Broomfield, whose leading scorer Alec McLain found his stroke from 3-point range, outscored the Wizards 16-5 and had all the momentum going to the second half.
“It was a matter of keeping up what we did in the first half and pressuring No. 20 (Walker) and get the offensive rebounds,” said McLain, who finished with a team-high 15 points. “But that didn’t happen.”
The air was let out of the Broomfield balloon right out of the gate in the third quarter. Three consecutive whistles within the first 30 seconds had the Eagles on their heels defensively. Windsor was already in the bonus midway through the third quarter.
“What it really does psychologically and kids all of the sudden don’t know what to do,” Dunn said. “They don’t know where to put their hands, where to be and they don’t know what is going on. That was a psychological blow and I think that affected our defense, especially in the third quarter.
“But hats off to Windsor, they figured out what to do and they had some kids step up and make shots. And they played pretty good defense in the second half.”
The Eagles regained focus and sophomore Jack Burgesser — who had his struggles on the offensive end but was fantastic defensively, especially against the much taller Walker — never left the court in the second half and held the Wizards star to just three field goals.
“He guarded (Collin) Smith from Thompson Valley and Walker tonight and those are two kids that are players of the year in their respective conferences,” Dunn said. “Those are college-caliber kids and to ask a sophomore to do that is asking a lot and I think Jack did a great job defensively on both those kids.”
Playing with Noah Dohm on the bench after he broke his hand on Tuesday night at practice, the Eagles revamped their rotation and didn’t skip a beat. The balanced scoring attack was led by McLain’s 15 and then Nate Lehnerz chipped in with 13 and Michael Wristen came off the bench to score 11.
The Wizards (16-8), who will play No. 4 Thomas Jefferson on Friday night at the Colorado State Fair Events Center in Pueblo, got 17 from Walker. He scored 14 of those in the second half and was a flawless 10 for 10 from the free throw line.
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Windsor 61, Broomfield 52
At Windsor H.S.
Sam Foster 0 0-0 0, Josh Williamson 1 2-2 4, Jake Morris 1 0-0 2, Nate Lehnerz 5 2-3 13, Jack Burgesser 2 0-0 4, Alec McLain 4 4-4 15, Payton Holloway 0 1-2 1, Zach Grennan 1 0-0 2, Michael Wristen 5 1-2 11. Totals 19 10-13 52.
Drew Bunday 1 0-0 2, Tanner Bohm 3 0-3 8, Landon Schmidt 3 2-2 9, Dalton Walker 3 10-10 17, Viktor Kaiser 3 2-4 8, Matthew Thiemann 3 2-2 10, Zachary Peck 2 1-2 5, David Watson 0 2-2 2. Totals 18 19-25 61.
Score by quarters:
Broomfield 14 16 10 12– 52
Windsor 17 5 20 19 — 61
3-point field goals — Broomfield (4): McLain 3, Lehnerz; Windsor (6): Bohm 2, Thiemann 2, Schmidt, Walker. Total fouls — Broomfield 22; Windsor 13. Fouled out — Lehnerz.