BOULDER — The Fairview boys basketball team had 10 regular season games remaining entering Friday night, but coach Frank Lee wasn’t afraid to start talking postseason with his team early.
“We had to,” Lee said after his team rolled to a 60-42 home victory over Greeley West. “We have seven (wins) now. Six wasn’t going to cut it. We know we’re playing for our playoff lives here. But more importantly we just wanted to play better and execute better, and I thought we did tonight.”
The Knights (7-7, 2-1 Front Range League) certainly have plenty of time to polish their postseason resume. But for a squad that had lost three in a row and has a daunting three-game stretch next week that includes tough games against Boulder and Fort Collins, Friday’s contest felt like it carried some extra weight to the Knights.
FHS played disciplined on both ends of the floor, forcing Greeley West (7-8, 0-4) to settle for bad shots on the defensive end and working the ball around patiently on offense for layups.
The Knights took only 38 shots in the game but converted on 20 and hit 17 of 20 free-throw attempts. They held Greeley West, meanwhile, to 7 for 32 shooting in the first half on the way to a 33-15 intermission advantage.
“If we keep playing like that we’ll have a shot at getting to the postseason and doing something in the postseason,” said FHS guard Chris Arehart, who led the Knights offensively with 21 points.
Trailing by as many as 20 early in the third quarter, Greeley West started making a run early in the fourth.
They cut the Knights’ lead to 45-33 with 5 minutes, 13 seconds to play on a 3-pointer by Mohamoud Ahmed. Fairview turned the ball over on the ensuing possession, and Greeley West appeared to be headed the other way for a layup. But FHS’ Johnny Feauto and West’s A.J. Lopez got tangled behind the play, and Lopez was whistled for a technical foul.
The Knights, who had edged West 61-56 early in the season, made both the ensuing free throws, and pulled away to the finish.
Trevor Simmons scored 15 points and snagged five rebounds for FHS, while Kamran Shahbaz and Feauto added nine and eight points, respectively.
On the other end, Evan Grainger led the defensive charge on Greeley West leading scorer Cordell Gillingham. Gillingham, who entered the night averaging 17.1 points per game, didn’t score in the first half, got into foul trouble early in the third quarter, and fouled out in the fourth with five points.
Preston Marion and Darren De La Croix paced West with 12 points each. But the Spartans shot just 34 percent on the night.
“They were active from the tip — really interested in not giving us anything easy,” Greeley West coach Brett Cloepfil said. “I think we settled a little bit (for outside shots), and that’s attributable to their D.”
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Fairview 60, Greeley West 42
At Fairview HS
GREELEY WEST (7-8, 0-4)
Thompson 0 1-2 1, DeLaCroix 5 2-4 12, Lopez 1 0-0 2, Marion 5 2-2 12, Gillingham 2 1-1 5, Perches 2 0-0 5, Wood 1 0-0 2, Ahmed 1 0-0 3. Totals 17 6-9 42.
FAIRVIEW (7-7, 2-1)
Shahbaz 3 2-3 9, Feauto 2 4-4 8, Brennan 0 0-0 0, Graham-Bell 1 0-0 2, Arehart 6 8-8 21, Pykkonen 0 0-0 0, Grainger 1 0-0 3, Simmons 6 3-5 15, Heisner 1 0-0 2. Totals 20 17-20 60.
Score by quarters:
Greeley West 7 8 11 16 — 42
Fairview 18 15 10 17 — 60
3-point field goals — Greeley West (2): Perches, Ahmed; Fairview (3): Shabaz, Arehart, Grainger. Total fouls — Greeley West 20, Fairview 11. Fouled out — Gillingham. Technical fouls — Lopez.