BOULDER — A couple early trends had already emerged from the boys basketball teams from Niwot and Broomfield.
For Niwot under second-year head coach Enoch Miller, the Cougars have displayed balance but have struggled to shoot straight. In Broomfield’s case, the Eagles lit up the scoreboard in their season opener but have found points difficult to come by since.
When the teams collided Friday afternoon, Niwot was able to correct its most glaring shortcoming. Broomfield did too, but not nearly soon enough to avoid coming out on the wrong end of a 59-44 Niwot victory in the seventh-place game of the Fairview Festival.
“It was a big game for us. Every win is big — they don’t come easy, and they’re precious,” Miller said. “I think we really needed a win for our confidence and to just get some justification for all the hard work.
“We shot the ball around 30 percent the whole entire season last year. We’re not a team that’s getting up-and-down like crazy, so shooting well from the floor today was a big help.”
After winning its first two games of the season, Niwot opened the Fairview Festival with losses against the host Knights and another solid 5A program, Aurora Central, in a game the Cougars led entering the fourth quarter.
Niwot quickly vented some of that frustration against the Eagles, holding Broomfield scoreless in the opening quarter while taking a lead the Cougars never relinquished.
The Cougars built their early lead behind a solid effort from the floor, knocking down 11 of 17 shots in the first half while draining all three of their 3-point attempts. A 3-pointer by senior Brendan Gray at the end of the first quarter gave Niwot a 13-0 lead, which Gray extended with another 3-pointer immediately after the break.
Gray’s 16 points led a balanced Niwot attack that saw four players reach double-figures. Jonathan Drake scored 10 points, while Ryan Kannegeiter (13 points) and Jared Hart (11) provided scoring punch off the bench.
“Our defensive rotations were great, and offensively we were getting to the right spots,” Gray said. “We were hitting our shots, which we weren’t doing in the earlier parts of this tournament. This game, we came out and hit everything we needed to.”
Broomfield managed just 35 points in its previous contest against Sierra, and those scoring doldrums continued in the scoreless first quarter on Friday. Yet the Eagles were able to make a game of it, using a 10 for 10 effort at the free throw line during the second quarter to cut the Niwot lead to 29-21 at halftime. The Eagles battled to within five points early in the third, but Hart tallied seven points in a 9-2 Niwot run that gave the Cougars breathing room the rest of the way.
“We’ve shown in the past that we can score, but then we’ve also shown we don’t score sometimes. We’re all or nothing right now,” Broomfield coach Terrence Dunn said. “We’re young and we need to work on our consistency. It was too big a whole early. We actually outscored them by (one) after being down (16-0). We need to not do that so we don’t have to dig out.”
Geoffrey Davis went 7 for 8 at the free throw line and paced Broomfield (1-3) with 16 points.
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Niwot 59, Broomfield 44
At Fairview Festival
Jonathan Drake 3 4-7 10, Charlie Mitelhaus 1 0-0 3, Jason Seper 0 1-3 1, Brendan Gray 5 4-4 16, Justin Lee 2 1-2 5, Jared Hart 5 0-1 11, Walker Bounds 0 0-0 0, Ryan Kannegeiter 4 4-4 13, Michael Agado 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 14-21 59.
Logan McCormick 0 4-4 4, Nate Lehnerz 1 2-2 4, Geoffrey Davis 4 7-8 16, Payton Holloway 2 0-0 4, Colt Burgesser 0 0-0 0, Jack Burgesser 1 0-1 2, Breyton Briggs 2 0-0 6, Sean Duffy 0 0-0 0, Kyle Rynearson 2 0-0 4, Sam Foster 1 2-2 4. Totals 13 15-17 44.
Score by quarters:
Broomfield 0 21 9 14 — 44
Niwot 13 16 11 19 — 59
3-point field goals — Broomfield (3): Briggs 2, Davis; Niwot (5): Gray 2, Mitelhaus, Hart, Kannegeiter. Total fouls — Broomfield 21, Niwot 21. Fouled out — Holloway.