BOULDER — The Boulder girls basketball team has a lot going for them right now, not the least of which is a group of younger athletes who are finding their way onto the court for big minutes already this season.
With that, though, comes growing pains. The Panthers experienced such a contest on Friday night at Arvada West, where the host Wildcats were able to get off to a hot start and then get on some runs at key times in a 47-29 victory over BHS.
On other nights, the shots the Panthers were able to find and take might fall a little more frequently. That’s already proved true as Boulder entered Friday’s play 3-3 overall and carried a 43.4-point-per-game scoring average.
Friday was a lesson in patience, as the Panthers struggled to just slow down and try to find the offense they know how to execute.
“Shots weren’t falling for us tonight either, but I think overall we just need to make better passes and better decisions with the ball,” freshman Abbie Gillach said after a six-point performance that led the team. “Just finding that open person and not just throwing up bad shots.”
After averaging just about 30 points a game last year, Boulder has scored as much as 60 points in a game this season and prior to Friday had only been held to less than 35 one time.
The Panthers couldn’t get going, though, after netting just five points in the first quarter on Friday and having to play from behind against a team that was quick with their hands defensively.
The press break was off and on for Boulder, and Arvada West used transition play to jump to a 16-5 advantage after one quarter. Arvada West’s Madison Pixler scored two baskets in the first 15 seconds of the game, the latter coming off an inbound steal, she was tough to handle all through the first half on her way to 14 points.
Boulder notched the first five points of the second quarter behind an Emma Bagley jumper and a Gillach 3-pointer to make it 16-10, but Pixler responded with a 3-pointer of her own to make it 19-10 just seconds later.
Even though both teams went on a long scoring drought to begin the third quarter, the Wildcats were able to keep their lead between eight and 11 points through the third frame before finishing strong on their home floor in the final 8 minutes.
Scoring runs for Boulder were just hard to come by, making it tough to come back from an early deficit.
“We’ve been struggling to play all four quarters,” Gillach said. “It feels like we get rolling a little bit in the first quarter but let things slip away. We need to play better defense and just have more focus. We need to keep from getting down on ourselves.”
Arvada West 47, Boulder 29
At Boulder HS
ARVADA WEST (4-3)
Manson 0 0-0 0, Riser 3 0-2 7, Pixler 5 2-2 14, Tafolla 1 0-0 2, Braning 2 0-0 4, Ross 2 0-1 4, Branch 2 1-2 5, Montoya 5 1-5 11. Totals 20 4-12 47.
Burke 0 0-0 0, Gillach 2 0-2 6, Van Bussum 2 0-1 5, Osland 0 0-0 0, McCarty 1 1-2 4, Chow 2 0-3 4, Bagley 1 3-6 5, Abdel 0 0-0 0, Hunter 2 0-2 4, Roberts 0 0-0 0, Reich 0 0-1 0. Totals 10 5-18 29.
Score by quarters:
3-point field goals — Boulder (3): Gillach 2, Van Bussum; Arvada West (3): Pixler 2, Riser.