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Boys basketball: New-look Dawson struggles in opener against Berthoud

Dawson School's Elijah Bacher attacks the basket against Berthoud's Jade Ream during the Mustang's season-opening loss at the Skyline Falcon Challenge.
Lewis Geyer / Longmont Times-Call
Dawson School’s Elijah Bacher attacks the basket against Berthoud’s Jade Ream during the Mustang’s season-opening loss at the Skyline Falcon Challenge.


LONGMONT — Every coach inevitably is eager to get their season going.

Yet in the case of Dawson School boys basketball coach Jeff Youngstrom, there was an extra incentive to tip off the 2014-15 season. After losing so many players from last year’s 11-10 squad, Youngstrom was just as curious as anyone else as to how his youthful Mustangs would perform.

The initial reviews were not good. Though Dawson undoubtedly has the talent to build upon, the Mustangs opened the season on Wednesday with a lopsided 73-37 loss against Berthoud in the first round of the Skyline Falcon Challenge.

“We’ve had one scrimmage, so we’ve seen a little bit, but we don’t even know which guys are going to go in which spots,” Youngstrom said. “We don’t know what roles we’re going to play yet. We have enough talent. We just haven’t had enough time on the floor together. We didn’t know our plays well enough. And our timing, when we did now them, was way off.”

Youngstrom knows there are a number of solid athletes on the Mustangs’ roster. However, there remains many holes to fill from last year’s squad. Dawson lost its top four scorers from 2013-14, a quartet that accounted for about 88 percent of the Mustangs’ average of 44.8 points a game.

Dawson School also lost its top two rebounders, and the team’s five starters on Wednesday included a freshman and three juniors who combined for a per-game scoring average of just 6.9 last year.

As the only 2A program in a Skyline tournament field that includes 2014 3A quarterfinalist Denver Science & Tech and defending 4A state champion Pueblo East, Youngstrom was eager to see how his charges would respond against the bigger competition. At times it wasn’t pretty against 4A Berthoud.

“We want to make sure when we leave here that we’re preparing for our tough league,” Youngstrom said. “This is fantastic for us, regardless of the score. We’ll find out who our team is through adversity, and we get to play some great teams. You couldn’t ask for anything more and we’re thrilled to be in this tournament.”

Dawson scored the first basket of the game and held an early 5-4 lead, but those would be the Mustangs’ only advantages of the contest. Berthoud ended the first quarter on a 16-2 run, and the Spartans added 15 consecutive points during the second quarter to take an insurmountable 37-10 lead at the break.

Junior Chris Slade was a bright spot for Dawson, finishing with a team-leading 10 points. Berthoud’s Nate Hammel and Jade Ream scored 23 points apiece to pace Berthoud.

“We’re playing a lot bigger schools, but really we’re just trying to play together,” Slade said. “Playing these big schools is exactly what we need right now. We were a little nervous — a 4A team, first game of the season. But I think after we settled in we played a little bit better.”

Dawson School will continue tournament play in the consolation bracket against Englewood on Friday at 3:30 p.m.

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Berthoud 73, Dawson School 37

At Skyline Falcon Challenge


Jamie Gray 3 1-2 7, McCallan Castles 5 0-0 11, Nathan Hammel 7 7-8 23, Jade Ream 8 6-6 23, Cody Braesch 1 1-2 3, Karsten Bump 0 1-2 1, Noah Purdy 2 1-2 5. Totals 26 17-22 73.


Wyatt Watts 0 0-2 0, Tanner Fulkerson 2 2-3 6, Gavyn Pure 0 0-0 0, Jordan Bacher 0 1-2 1, Chris Slade 3 3-5 10, Zach Dupont 2 1-2 5, Conner O’Grady 0 0-0 0, Elijah Bacher 4 5-8 13, Jordy Grant-Krenz 1 0-3 2. Totals 12 12-25 37.

Score by quarters:

Dawson School 7 3 13 14 — 37

Berthoud 20 17 23 13 — 73

3-point field goals — Dawson School (1): Slade; Berthoud: (4): Hammel 2, Ream, Castles. Total fouls — Dawson School 20, Berthoud 23.