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Boys basketball: Longmont can’t miss in win against Brighton

LONGMONT — Justinian Jessup will have plenty of nights like this, when knocking down 3-pointers looks as easy as dropping a ball into a bathtub.

Yet the Longmont Trojans are far from a one-man show, and it’s a group that adheres religiously to coach Jeff Kloster’s directives to share the ball and, in turn, share the wealth.

Jessup shot the 4A No. 1-ranked Trojans to an early lead on Friday night, and his teammates quickly put Brighton to rest in an 81-43 victory in the Longmont Tournament. The Trojans (5-0) will complete the tournament and their pre-holiday slate Saturday morning against Windsor.

While Jessup set the tone, it was a torrid shooting night from start to finish for the Trojans, who finished with a 30 for 42 mark (.714) from the floor.

“We know we all can play at a high level, and it’s easy to play with a guy like Justinian,” senior Blake O’Grady said. “He can really stretch out a zone, but it’s good to swing the ball and let everyone get touches.”

Jessup’s touch was red-hot in the first quarter. The junior went 4 for 4 in the frame while knocking down all three of his 3-point attempts. Longmont forced eight turnovers in the frame and shot 9 of 13 — a mark that included two harried attempts in the paint just before the buzzer sounded.

Jessup finished the night with a game-high 23 points, making 4 of 6 shots from 3-point range and 9 of 11 overall.

“I really want to attack the basket first, and then the jump shots will come,” Jessup said. “That’s what happened tonight. I got a transition layup and then the 3’s started falling. It was a good night. We emphasize (moving the ball) in practice, and we really wanted to come out and do that tonight. And I think we did it. We shot a really high percentage.”

Longmont extended its lead to 25 points at 34-9 before Brighton attempted to rally, ending the half on a 12-4 run and adding the first basket of the third quarter to pull within 38-23. The Trojans, however, promptly answered with a 10-2 run and cruised the rest of the way, capping their hot-shooting night with a 10 for 11 effort from the floor in the fourth.

O’Grady missed his first field goal attempt before making six in a row and finishing with 18 points. Kevin Mitchell (16 points) went 5 for 6 from the floor and Kolton Bachman came off the bench to contribute a 5 for 7 shooting effort and 12 points.

“The point of emphasis the whole year is to share the ball,” Kloster said. “We want to move the defense from side-to-side and we want to attack the hoop. We want to go to the free throw line 20-plus times a game. Justinian, everyone…they had chances where someone else had a better shot, and they made the extra pass. The second half we were 12 for 12 inside the paint. That’s what you want.”

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Longmont 81, Brighton 43

At Longmont HS

BRIGHTON (2-5)

Conner Pepin 1 0-0 3, Jacob Fitzgerald 1 0-2 3, Samuel Kullberg 1 0-0 2, Joshua Sandoval 1 1-1 3, Adam Tabor 4 0-0 10, Landon Verbeek 0 3-4 3, Cameron Fushimi 1 0-0 2, Conner Reynolds 0 2-4 2, Cody Smith 0 1-3 1, Dalton Kilgore 4 1-2 10, Alec Jones 2 0-0 4. Totals 15 8-16 43.

LONGMONT (5-0)

David Speidel 0 1-3 1, Clint Sigg 2 0-0 4, Blake O’Grady 6 6-7 18, Kevin Mitchell 5 6-9 16, Justinian Jessup 9 0-0 23, Eli Sullivan 0 1-2 1, Jorge Cordova 2 0-1 4, Kolton Bachman 5 2-3 12, Cooper Rothe 1 0-2 2, Ryan Rulon 0 0-0 0. Totals 30 16-27 81.

Score by quarters:

Brighton 6 15 9 13 — 43

Longmont 24 14 15 28 — 81

3-point field goals — Brighton (5): Tabor 2, Fitzgerald, Pepin, Kilgore; Longmont (5): Jessup 5. Total fouls — Brighton 19, Longmont 14.

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