After taking a sparkling 6-2 record into the holiday break, the Boulder boys basketball team had every reason to feel confident.
Over-confidence, however, is always a problem, and it’s one Panthers head coach Eric Eisenhard believes reared its ugly head when Boulder reconvened with a lethargic loss at Heritage earlier in the week.
Eisenhard described Heritage as having “out-Bouldered Boulder,” an analysis that clearly got the Panthers’ attention. After bouncing back by dispatching Poudre on Thursday, Boulder recorded another impressive non-conference win Saturday night by topping Rangeview 57-51.
Boulder will take an 8-3 mark into its Front Range League opener Tuesday at Fort Collins.
“I think going into the Heritage game, honestly we were acting like we were satisfied with who we were and where we were as a team,” Eisenhard said. “We came out (against Heritage) and we played like we were satisfied, which is not something we’ve ever done.
“Defensively, we weren’t ourselves against Heritage. The guys knew it. We spent a ton of time talking about it. The bottom line is we responded on Thursday, and we responded again today.”
Rangeview, coming off a tough Friday night battle in a loss against top-ranked Regis Jesuit, scored the first basket of the game. But Boulder answered with eight consecutive points and led the rest of the way, relying on stellar team defense and a clutch effort at the free throw line in the second half to hold off the Raiders (6-5).
Boulder held Rangeview leading scorer Jalen Davis, who entered the game averaging 15.7 points a game, to just nine points. Davis struggled from the field, converting three of his four field goals off dunks, yet it was Boulder’s response to a Davis surge late in the first half that helped keep the Panthers in control.
With Boulder holding a 10-point edge, Davis finally got on the board with a rebound dunk, and a subsequent Panthers turnover led to another Davis dunk off an alley-oop that brought the Raiders within six and clearly wrested the momentum from the hosts.
But Boulder junior Landon Taliaferro answered with a 3-pointer and, after a Rangeview basket, he knocked down another long-range jumper in the waning seconds of the half to re-establish the Panthers’ 10-point lead at the break.
“I wanted to give our team a boost after they got that alley-oop,” Taliaferro said. “Coach told us to keep our heads up. We knew (Davis) was going to make some plays and that they would go on runs. We just wanted to keep our heads up and then I got those threes.”
Boulder managed just one field goal in the third quarter, but the Panthers’ swarming defense — combined with a 7 for 8 mark at the free throw line during the frame alongside Bill DiScipio’s 3-pointer — prevented Rangeview from rallying. Senior Garrett Turner went 7 for 8 at the line in the fourth as Boulder sealed the win by finishing 18 for 23 on free throws.
Taliaferro led the Panthers with 14 points and Turner finished with 12.
“We put a huge emphasis this week on getting back to who we are and playing the way we know we can play,” Turner said. “We’ve played a lot of teams like this that has great players, so we played the gaps and tried to play great on-ball defense.”
At halftime, Boulder honored its Class 5A state runner-up boys soccer team and All-American girls lacrosse player Sarah Brown by unveiling new banners in the school’s gymnasium.
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Boulder 57, Rangeview 51
At Boulder HS
Kris Hollins 3 0-0 7, Jalen Davis 4 0-0 9, Elijah Blake 2 0-0 5, Tarren Storey-Way 6 2-2 15, Elijah Reed 1 0-0 3, Tyrei Randall 3 2-2 10, Tim Wyatt 1 0-0 2. Totals 20 4-4 51.
Tommy Baumgartner 0 3-4 3, Landon Taliaferro 4 3-5 14, Garrett Turner 2 7-8 12, Bill DiScipio 2 0-0 5, Leif Blessing 2 5-6 9, Jack Boyle 2 0-0 5, Savoy Carl 0 0-0 0, Garrett Johnston 1 0-0 3, Morgan Hohlfelder 3 0-0 6. Totals 16 18-23 57.
Score by quarters:
Rangeview 8 12 12 19 — 51
Boulder 10 20 10 17 — 57
3-point field goals — Rangeview (7): Randall 2, Blake, Hollins, Storey-Way, Reed, Davis; Boulder (7): Taliaferro 3, Turner, Johnston, Boyle, DiScipio. Total fouls — Rangeview 20; Boulder 10. Fouled out — Blake.