The Fairview boys basketball team has four more games this season to pick their collective heads up and make a playoff push. As it stands, though, the Knights are a squad in a kicking-a-can-down-the-road kind of rut.

Fairview dropped its fourth straight game in Front Range League play on Friday night at The Dungeon, struggling to find rebounds and stops on defense in the second half on their way to a 53-33 loss at the hands of Mountain Range. It was in many ways a listless performance for FHS after halftime and particularly in the fourth quarter, as the hosts managed just 11 points once they returned to the court.

Frustrating as a losing streak is, Fairview head coach Frank Lee remained optimistic that the problems the Knights are haunted by can be corrected in order to have a positive finish to the season.

“They really took advantage of us kind of watching the ball and not watching our men defensively,” Lee said after watching his team fall to 8-11 overall and 3-5 in FRL play. “We’re right now at a point where we can’t have empty possessions and we have to defend each possession great — our margin of error isn’t very high. I think our kids will bounce back.

“We have to find a way to get a win, and then go from there. We know we’re not (in the playoff picture) now, but we know what’s ahead of us and we’ll find out how our seniors really want to go out.”

During the past five games — and that includes a win against Broomfield — Fairview is averaging just 38.6 points a contest. While it is their goal to slow things down and wait for a great look on offense, lately there have been too many empty possessions and not enough second and third chances.

Friday, the Mustangs (14-5, 5-3) outrebounded Fairview 24-11, and Fairview also had 18 turnovers for the contest. Light was cast on six miscues in the third quarter, turnovers which sprung Mountain Range into some fast-break points to push its lead into double digits.

“I think the past four games, we just haven’t been playing Fairview basketball,” said Kamran Shahbaz, who had eight points including a pair of 3-pointers. “We do have to bring back that energy that we had (in past years), and we know as seniors that we only have these four games left.”

Good starts always tend to make things easier, and Mountain Range came out the better team. Ben Egan, who finished with 19 points and had a number of assists, hit his first three shots in the first quarter, and three Mustangs hit 3-pointers to help forge an 18-9 lead.

Fairview regrouped in the second frame, going on a 7-0 run to make it 18-16 before Evan Grainger was tagged with his third personal foul. Mountain Range got going again behind another Egan 3-pointer, but Shahbaz nailed a perimeter shot with 1:56 left to bring the score to 25-22 at the half.

Each team hit shots within the first minute of play in the third, but a 3-pointer by James Potter, a jumper by Max Castillo (who finished with 15) and an Andrew Romero transition bucket over the next 2:30 made it 34-24 Mustangs.

Fairview, which was without the energy of Johnny Feauto and the post presence of Steele Mercer, never bounced back. Chris Arehart had a great first half but was shut out in the second half to finish with 13 points, and the Knights shot 5 for 18 in the third and fourth quarters (1 for 9 from beyond the arc).

Mountain Range, meanwhile, used their passers and cutters to get uncontested layups, and the Mustangs made 12 of 21 shots overall in the final 16 minutes.

“I thought we shored some things up late in the first quarter and then clogged things up good in the second quarter,” Lee said. “Second half, we had a couple drives that didn’t go, and then they came down and got fast breaks points. We started rushing our stuff on offense at that time, and the second thing was we were losing our man defensively.”

“It’s tough not having guys on the floor, but we have to fix things with who we have,” Shahbaz added. “I think we over-helped on a few of their players, and they were good at getting to the open guy. We managed to come back early and make it a 3-point game at half, but we lost that energy in the second half.”

Fairview will pick things up again Tuesday against Monarch.

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Mountain Range 53, Fairview 33

At Fairview HS

MOUNTAIN RANGE (14-5, 5-3)

Michael Serna 1 0-0 3, Ben Egan 7 2-2 19, Tyler Smith 0 0-0 0, Max Castillo 7 0-0 17, James Potter 1 0-0 3, Andrew Romero 2 2-4 6, Bryce Waggoner 3 0-1 7. Totals 21 4-7 53.

FAIRVIEW (8-11, 3-5)

Kamran Shahbaz 3 0-0 8, Mitco Petrov 1 0-0 2, Conor Brennan 0 0-0 0, Kailash Graham-Bell 1 1-2 3, Chris Arehart 3 5-5 13, Jake Pykkonen 0 0-0 0, Chris Weatherly 1 0-0 2, Evan Grainger 2 0-0 5, Trevor Simmons 0 0-0 0, Cole Heisner 0 0-0 0. Totals 11 6-7 33.

Score by quarters:

Mountain Range 18 7 14 14 — 53
Fairview
9 13 7 4 — 33

3-point field goals — Mountain Range (7): Egan 3, Castillo, Serna, Waggoner, Potter; Fairview (5): Shahbaz 2, Arehart 2, Grainger. Total fouls — Mountain Range 12, Fairview 8.