BOULDER — An 0-5 start to the season is a chasm that would cause a lot of teams to mail it in. For the Boulder High girls basketball squad, it’s simply being recognized as a process of identification.
The Panthers seemed to have discovered what they are good at and have literally ran with it.
On Friday night against Denver West in the team’s final game before holiday break, Boulder frantically pushed the pace of play from start to finish in a 57-26 thrashing of the Cowgirls. It’s the same thing Boulder did last week to get their first win against Overland, and now with consecutive victories some confidence is starting to build up for a young team.
“Being a small team, we’re definitely going to need to be able to push the ball, and we’ve been pushing it in practice,” Boulder head coach Sara Klippert said. “As a coach, you look for progression and we continue to get better.
“Momentum is rolling for us, and we’re looking forward to the rest of the year.”
Boulder has a couple of non-league games mixed into the schedule once it does return to action in January, but the Panthers understand there are tough games ahead in Front Range League play. For senior Anna Boylan, the fact the Panthers have seen success of late bodes well.
“It’s a great start to our season and it makes me hopeful for the future,” Boylan said. “We have some big challenges ahead of us and we’re a young team, but I think we’ll persevere. I thought we worked really well as a team tonight.”
If Boylan and Grace Garza play consistently as they did on Friday, the Panthers will give FRL teams some fits. Both players posted double-doubles, with most of Garza’s 20 points and 11 rebounds coming in the second half. Boylan did a little bit of everything, posting 16 points and 13 rebounds while defending Denver West’s best player effectively and even coming up with four blocked shots in the fourth quarter.
The entire Panthers defense was tenacious on rebounding, with Izzie Burridge and Bijou MacDonald each corralling nine boards. It was a contagious effort, one that Boylan hopes will continue to tip the scales in their favor.
“That’s one of our goals for every game, to crash the boards, box out,” Boylan said. “Grace is one of our leading rebounders and she did great, and that’s just one of those things we strive for and it definitely showed.”
The Panthers controlled play early to jump out to a 15-0 lead before Denver West (0-8) rallied a little bit at the 3-point line. The Cowgirls cut the score to 19-10 before Garza hit a long jumper to end a BHS drought, but Denver West reduced its deficit to just six points late in the second quarter.
That’s when some of Boulder’s other young players stepped up to score. With 1 minute, 3 seconds remaining before half, MacDonald hit a mid-lane jumper to make it 25-16, and JV swing player Kiara Goodman scored a field goal with 18 seconds left to make it 27-18 at the break.
The Panthers went on an 11-0 run to begin the third and close it out, and Goodman ended up hitting two more field goals in the third quarter to finish with six points.
“We’re extremely young, so to be able see those other girls step up and get rebounds, get shots, it’s huge,” Klippert said. “Anna is a great kid and every coach hopes to have a girl like her on their team. She’s got something that you can’t coach in her.”
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BOULDER 57, DENVER WEST 26
At Boulder HS
DENVER WEST (0-8)
Hannia Pantoja 3 0-0 8, Savana Leon 0 0-3 0, Sierra Orozco 2 0-0 6, Monica Solano 0 0-1 0, Yesenia Huerta 4 3-8 12. Totals 9 3-11 26.
Maya Burgin 0 2-4 2, Anna Boylan 7 2-4 16, Izzie Burridge 1 0-0 2, Grace Garza 9 1-2 20, Kelly McCarty 0 1-2 1, Bijou MacDonald 4 0-1 8, Marlee Burridge 0 2-2 2, Kiara Goodman 3 0-0 6. Totals 24 8-15 57.
Score by quarters:
Denver West 0 18 7 1 — 26
Boulder 13 14 18 12 — 57
3-point field goals — Denver West (5): Pantoja 2, Orozco 2, Huerta; Boulder (1): Garza. Total fouls — Denver West 11, Boulder 17. Fouled out — Garza. Technical fouls — Denver West bench.