NIWOT — Identity changes aren’t supposed to be this enjoyable.
The Erie girls basketball team figured they might take their lumps this season as a team transitioning to a new coach and a new system with a decidedly youthful squad. A 6-1 starts has blown that notion into the water.
Erie closed the break with a 44-37 win at Niwot on Friday night, and although the Class 4A nonleague game wasn’t picturesque, it kept the Tigers rolling into the break. For a squad with six freshmen and four sophomores, that’s a big deal.
“We’re definitely a young team,” sophomore forward Annika Turner said. “But I think, despite the age, we have the basketball knowledge of seniors.”
Turner scored 10 points to match freshman McKayley Green for a team-best. Not a high total, but when you start to add up the auxiliary production from players such as Darby Berrigner, Kenzie Kudrna and Amanda Farineau, it works.
“We have four girls almost averaging double digits, and that’s really awesome to see,” Turner said. “Last year, coming from a girl that did have 20 points a game running our team, it’s pretty cool to see that we have four girls, and pretty much the whole team, that can score the ball. I think that’s why we’re winning some games.”
The Tigers exhibited early energy in jumping to a 7-0 lead and never looked back. Niwot trimmed the deficit to 31-27 late in the third, but Erie reserve Jade Phillips had a momentum-stifling bucket near the end of the quarter.
When Farineau began the fourth with a three-point play, Erie was back in control by nine.
“We didn’t play our best tonight,” Erie coach Bill Giampietro said. “But just to grind it out, stay together and complete the mission is big. We didn’t accomplish our goal of playing well all 32 minutes, but we did enough to get the ‘W’ and get out.”
Niwot (3-3) converted only two shots from the field in the first half, but stayed in relative striking distance by nailing 11 free throws. Hannah Sarosi led the Cougars with 10 points, included a 6 for 6 performance at the line. Jami Albert added nine.
The Cougars and coach Terri Ward, who have alternated wins and losses so far this season, first take on Frederick after the break on Jan. 3 at Roosevelt High School.
Erie gets back at it the same day with against Fort Lupton. While the Tigers haven’t yet experienced the rigors of the Tri-Valley League, they haven’t really had the opportunity to play at home, either. The Fort Lupton game will be the Tigers’ second on their own court.
If the opening month has proved anything to the Tigers, it’s that they are building the persona of a persevering group.
“I definitely think that in our — I don’t want to say terrible moments — but in our slower moments as a team, we still pick each other up and come out with a win,” Turner said.
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Erie 44, Niwot 37
At Niwot HS
Kenzie Kudrna 1 4-5 6, Amanda Farineau 2 2-5 6, Darby Berringer 3 2-2 8, McKayley Green 4 2-4 10, Annika Turner 4 2-3 10, Autymn Purcell 0 0-0 0, Aly Romey 0 0-0 0, Adlee Schenbeck 0 0-2 0, Jade Phillips 1 2-4 4. Totals 15 14-25 44.
Hannah Sarosi 2 6-6 10, YY Chen 1 2-4 5, Laila McCaffrey 2 0-1 4, Monica Pilewskie 0 2-2 2, Jami Albert 2 4-7 9, Jenna Edwards 0 2-2 2, Keena Strope 0 0-0 0, Emily Mercier 2 1-2 5. Totals 9 17-24 37.
Score by quarters:
Erie 14 10 9 11 — 44
Niwot 7 9 11 10 — 37
3-point field goals — Erie (0); Niwot (2): Chen, Albert. Total fouls — Erie 23, Niwot 22. Fouled out — Kudrna, Chen, McCaffrey.