Daily Camera file photo
Daily Camera file photo
Tim Hurst/Staff Photographer
LONGMONT — The sight of Eddie Kurjak lifting up and crashing home a one-handed dunk Friday night was the kind of intensity Longmont knew it needed.
“It really propelled us with our energy and kept us going,” Trojans coach Jeff Kloster said.
Too much for Mead to hang with on this night.
Kurjak’s early steal-turned-jam highlighted his game-high 17 points and Longmont’s high-flying defense stifled the Mavs in a 47-32 victory in a matchup of the Nos. 1 and 3 Class 4A teams from the latest CHSAANow.com coaches poll.
Keegan Patterson added 11 points and Connor Taylor had eight as the Trojans held Mead to their season low in scoring.
James Shiers led the Mavs with nine points, while their scoring leader, Elijah Knudsen, tallied just eight. Mead had averaged 63.6 points per game this season coming in. The 32 points was its fewest in a game since March 1, 2013 when it scored 30 in a postseason loss to Thomas Jefferson.
“Knudsen is a hell of a player, (Nick) Basson, hell of a player,” said Kloster, who credited his son Cade with the defensive plan. “They’re all great players. They’re a great team and we knew we had to come out with energy. And I thought we played for 32 minutes with great purpose.”
The opening minutes set the tone. Matching the hype of a 1-vs.-3 game, Kurjak threw down the poster dunk off a steal and Knudsen swished a long-range shot with a defender draped over him.
Mead called a quick timeout after Kurjak’s flight as the Longmont bench mobbed its big man. The Colorado Mesa commit then scored another six as part of an 8-3 run to close the half. It finished with a catch, no-look, behind-the-back pass by Matthias Faas to Kurjak under the hoop that put the Trojans up 21-14.
Longmont allowed just seven points in the third and built its lead to 18 in the fourth.
“We wanted to come out swinging and bring energy,” Kurjak said. “When you can take a jump on that, it gives you an advantage. I think that showed tonight.”
This was just the latest go-around for the upset carousel in the 5A/4A NCAC.
Earlier this week, the Trojans were handed a rare home loss by Holy Family, which also beat No. 8 Erie. Erie handled No. 2 Windsor, while the Wizards went on to beat the top-ranked Mavs.
“It’s very crazy and really tough,” Kurjak said. “It’s the toughest league I’ve seen at Longmont.”
All of it leaves Longmont (8-1, 5-1) and Windsor (8-1, 5-1) atop the league standings. Mead (6-2, 4-2) is among the few teams just a game back.
Wednesday, Mead visits Centaurus and Longmont is home against Skyline.