BROOMFIELD — That whole strike while the iron hot thing was definitely in play for the Legacy Lightning on Thursday night at home against Horizon.
With precious few games remaining in the season and facing a Hawks team that was not only ahead of them in the Front Range League standings but was also minus two of its premier scorers in Josh Ralphs and Mateo Ramos, the onus was on the Lightning to score a needed home win.
“With this young team, we are learning things and I think today the kids were afraid to make mistakes and because of that, that is what led to our mistakes,” said a frustrated Legacy coach Gunnar Johnson. “So instead of attacking the basketball and being aggressive like we usually are, we were passive.
“We kept passing the ball around the perimeter instead of looking at the basket and that in turn led to all of our turnovers.”
Legacy scored just 25 points through the first three quarters, struggled to shut down Hawks senior Michael Skinner — who went off for a game high 25 points (18 in the second half) — and couldn’t dig themselves out of their hole. Horizon moved to 10-6 overall and 4-2 in the Front Range League with a 52-40 win over the Lightning.
With six games to play in the regular season, Legacy drops to 8-8 overall and, more importantly, 1-4 within league play.
Horizon led just 16-15 at the break, but got the spark it needed from their lone remaining play-maker in Skinner midway though the third. The lanky guard scored eight points, including two dunks as well as two old fashioned 3-point plays, in a 10-2 run that was all the cushion Horizon would need.
Skinner’s effort on the defensive end to diagnose the “passive” Legacy offense is what led to the run. The smaller Legacy guards, content to find the open looks around the perimeter, sometimes had trouble getting it over and around the longer Skinner, who timed his leaps and made steals.
“Skinner is a super athlete, but it was easy for him. None of us were looking at the basket to check the basket and we are looking away trying to get the ball out of our hands,” Johnson said. “He was just reading it and making plays.”
Skinner continued his onslaught in the fourth after Legacy’s Tyler Converse hit a 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter to make it a 30-25 game.
A 17-2 run led by Skinner with a little help from Tyler Moore and Grayson Stubbs had the Lightning searching for answers on the offensive end.
“Our high post was open every time, but we were so afraid of it that we never looked in to get it to him,” Johnson said. “It is something we are going to have to learn from.”
Converse led Legacy with 15 points and Dalton Royer was big with 12 points. An ailing Matt Lynch, who basically played with one arm, scored six.
The Lightning will have to have a short memory. They get right back to work on Friday night in Loveland against the Indians, a team they beat earlier in the season at the Prairie View Tournament.
“We just have to go get one tomorrow,” said Johnson, who has stressed to his team the importance of finishing the season strong. “Oh, they know.”
Follow Jon on Twitter: twitter.com/JonEYunt
Horizon 52, Legacy 40
At Legacy HS
HORIZON (10-6, 4-2)
Michael Skinner 8 8-9 25, Dylan Loucks 0 0-0 0, Blaze Roberts 2 1-2 5, Tyler Moore 5 1-1 11, Grayson Stubbs 2 5-6 9, Phillip Espinoza 0 0-0 0, Jordan Humphries 1 0-0 2, Hayden Schaeffer 0 0-0 0, Quinton Snouffer 0 0-0 0, Parker Strain 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 15-18 52.
LEGACY (8-8, 1-4)
Jake Boeckenstedt 1 0-0 2, Tyler Converse 5 1-2 15, Matt Lynch 3 0-2 6, Jeffrey Salazar 1 0-1 2, Wes Hoffman 0 1-2 1, Dalton Royer 4 4-6 12, Garin Leopold 1 0-0 2. Totals 15 6-13 40.
Score by quarters:
Horizon 13 3 14 22 — 52
Legacy 8 7 10 15 — 40
3-point field goals — Horizon (1): Skinner; Legacy (4): Converse 4. Total fouls — Horizon 18; Legacy 20. Fouled out — Salazar.