Longmont boys basketball coach Jeff Kloster has stressed playing a team game in his long tenure as head coach, and his group over the past couple of years have shown that formula can lead to success at the highest level.
Particularly in 2018-19, that played out as a balanced Trojans team came within one game of being perfect.
Longmont was one of the top scoring teams in Class 4A at 70.3 points per game entering the Final Four and state championship games this weekend. But rather than relying on one or two key scorers to carry the team, they feature seven different players who have scored in double figures during a game and that can carry the offense for particular stretches.
“It’s something we’ve done all year,” Longmont’s Brady Renck said. “We have four or five legitimate shooters we trust to shoot the ball, so my job is to find them, get them open and see what they can do.”
In all but two games this year, the Trojans had two or more players score 10 points or more in a game. Seven of those games had just two double-digit scorers, but nine had three players reach the 10-point mark. There were eight total games that saw four players in double figures, and even two during the regular season with five players in double figures for the team.
Beck Page and Calvin Seamons led the 2018-19 team with 22 games in double figures, hence being the leading scorers per game this season. Renck reached 10 or more points 17 times to go with his facilitating on the floor, while Oakley Dehning (eight games) and Dallas Dye (seven games) provided sparks. All five starters have more than 500 points to their high school careers. Longmont also saw Jaydon Elkins and Ryan Schneider reach double figures in a handful of games coming off the bench to help the second unit.
The unselfish play helped the senior class go out with perhaps the best run in program history, reaching back-to-back state championship game appearances and winning 52 of their final 54 games.
“It’s been a hell of a two years for us,” Renck said. “We put together two of the best seasons in Longmont history, and that’s something we’re going to cherish for the rest of our lives.”
On Saturday, the offense that carried Longmont to an undefeated season was contained by a Lewis-Palmer team with size and length. Longmont finished with a season-low 52 points on a day where it could not find steady offense. The team shot 10 percent less from the field at 40 percent and 27 percent from the 3-point line, eight percent less than their season average.
“(Lewis-Palmer) is definitely athletic, but it’s not something we haven’t seen before,” Renck said.
Seamons kept the Trojans in the game with 11 points on 5-of-5 shooting in the first half while the rest of the team went 4-of-16 from the field. Longmont also missed 5 of 9 free throws in the first half, preventing them from getting the early lead. Page, who did not score in the first half, caught fire from 3-point range in the second half to score 15.
The Trojans felt they were getting the looks they wanted from the floor, but shots were not falling for them like they had during the regular season.
“We had a couple of good looks that didn’t go for us,” Renck said. “That’s part of the game. Sometimes we shoot lights out, and sometimes we don’t and have to rely on our defense. We were in it the whole way.”