Girls basketball: Legacy’s Smith drops 33 points to beat Fairview

BROOMFIELD — Courtney Smith has had the advantage over Fairview the past couple seasons, but the Legacy senior’s performances have typically been bittersweet.

With just a couple of more meetings left in her career against the Knights, Smith was able to walk off the court Thursday knowing her effort — a career best, in fact — got the Lightning back to .500 and ended a lengthy losing skid against its Front Range League counterparts.

Smith was unstoppable at the LHS gym on her way to 33 points, and Bree Paulson also added 15 points to the Lightning’s 56-51 non-league victory. Legacy stopped a three-game losing streak against FHS but more importantly moved to 5-5 this season ahead of the league slate getting started.

Despite some miscues late in the third and fourth quarters, the Lightning kept up their pattern of alternating wins and losses. Smith hopes Thursday’s win get the team going in the right direction.

“We kind of fell flat a couple times … but ultimately Bree and I … we were just ready and wanted to get the win,” said Smith, whose previous best output was 32 points, earlier this season against George Washington. “We were working really hard on post stuff in practice this week, so maybe it just translated to the game tonight.

“We are really excited to get out of the preseason because we didn’t do as well as we would have liked. Hopefully, this will kick start into our league play, and then into state — just a domino effect.”

If Smith continues to play up to her standards, Legacy is good to go. The Knights couldn’t contain her whatsoever, and she matched her jersey number by going 13 for 22 from the field and 6 for 6 at the free throw line.

“There were things we thought we could do to limit (Smith’s) scoring, and we just did not do a good job,” Fairview coach Rod Beauchamp said. “She’s a great player. She knocked down an open 3-pointer, hit a lot of shots around the basket and made all those free throws at the end. She was tough for us to stop tonight.”

It was certainly a game of runs for both squads, and none was more frantic than the final 60 seconds of play. After Smith’s 3-pointer gave Legacy a 50-42 lead with 2:59 left, only two more points were scored until about the 1:00 mark — a basket for Fairview to get it back within six.

Smith hit two more free throws to bring it back to eight (52-44), but Denali Pinto, Tati Sobolik and Annika Lai converted three straight buckets in a span of 25 seconds with the help of two Legacy turnovers. With 35 seconds left, it was 52-50.

Legacy had another miscue at that time, but Fairview turned it right back over and Smith was fouled with 27.3 seconds left. She hit those two free throws to make it 54-50, and then with the score 54-51 and just 16 ticks left, she swished two more to seal the game.

“Towards the end of the quarters, we let up and didn’t make a lot of good choices, but overall we needed a game like that,” Legacy coach Craig Van Patten said of his team’s efforts. “We got a chance to play with the lead and figure out how to deal with that. Fortunately at the end, we did make enough of the right choices in the last minute.

“Down the stretch, you want the ball in the hands of (Smith and Paulson) because they have so much experience. We did a good job getting it to them at the end.”

For Fairview, Pinto’s 13 points helped the Knights cope better with the absence of Logan Tidstrom, who could not play due to illness. Lai finished with 11 points for the Knights struggled to find just three field goals.

“(Pinto) does a lot of things for us defensively … so it was huge to see her get some points,” Beauchamp said. “Logan was sick, and she’s a big outside threat for us.”

The teams will play again Feb. 13 at Fairview, this time with Front Range League implications.

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LEGACY 56, FAIRVIEW 51

At Legacy HS

FAIRVIEW (6-4)

Annika Lai 3 4-6 11, Tati Sobolik 3 0-0 6, Denali Pinto 5 3-4 13, Hailee Baughn 1 0-0 2, Grace O’Neill 3 1-2 8, Ashley Panem 2 4-4 8, Laura Hutchinson 1 0-0 2. Totals 18 12-16 51.

LEGACY (5-5)

Maddie Gallegos 0 1-2 1, Katelyn Pedersen 0 1-2 1, Vanessa Romo 2 2-2 6, Bree Paulson 6 3-4 15, Courtney Smith 13 6-6 33. Totals 21 13-16 56.

Score by quarters:

Fairview 7 12 12 20 — 51
Legacy 14 10 11 21 — 56

3-point field goals — Fairview (3): Lai, Pinto, O’Neill; Legacy (1): Smith. Total fouls — Fairview 15, Legacy 13.