The setting for the Boulder-Fairview game was far different than the past years at the CU Events Center, where the boys basketball rivalry had long been held.
Other than that, it was pretty true to form.
Roane Edwards was pivotal down the stretch and had 13 points, Greysen Carter scored 11, and the 5A Front Range League-leading Knights got all they could handle against host Boulder in a 48-45 win Monday night.
“You know what they say about a rivalry game,” Edwards proposed. “Anything can happen.”
And perhaps doubly so in a pandemic.
Instead of a college arena packed in with fans and student sections, only some family was allowed inside Boulder for this year’s game. The precautions taken amid the virus included a sanitization of the gym following the JV game — and only then were athletes and fans allowed.
Once settled, the Panthers broke open a back-and-forth first half as they built a nine-point lead in the third quarter — rather opposite of what they did against the Knights a season ago while being outscored 22-7 in the frame. But Fairview clamped down defensively and stormed back to take a lead early in the fourth.
Holding to a 47-45 advantage in the final 30 seconds, Fairview’s TJ Williams missed a one-and-one free throw and Drake Arthur’s driving attempt to tie things wobbled out. Carter then hit a free throw to push the lead to three with 8.5 seconds remaining and Edwards sealed it with a steal in the waning moments.
“(Edwards) made some huge plays and I couldn’t be more excited,” Fairview coach Andre Goldberg said. “He’s been working hard to be a point guard and lead our team in a lot of different ways.”
Fairview (8-2, 7-0) beat the Panthers (4-6, 3-4) for the fourth time in five seasons and kept its long winning streak alive inside league play. Now 19 in a row, its last loss came to Boulder two seasons ago.
Late in the third Monday, Edwards halted a 10-0 run by Boulder with a nifty three-point play. Another 3 by him early in the fourth tied the game at 39-39. The Knights led by as many as just four points in the final frame, but allowed the Panthers only six total.
Earlier on, the Panthers — who had won their past two with 20-point victories over Legacy and Fort Collins — built a six-point lead late in the opening quarter. Connor Reagan had consecutive makes to push the lead to 15-9 before Fairview tied it up at 15 early in the second — and then again at 26 before the break.
Reagan scored 12 of his 16 in the first half. Arthur had 11 of his 15 points in the second.
“I mean we just brought more energy (late),” Edwards said. “It felt like we were definitely coasting a bit in the first half. Just sort of walked in here and felt like they were going to give it to us. They fought really hard and punched us in the mouth in the first half. The second half, our bench provided a lot of energy that helped us out and gave us back some momentum. Then they went on a run, we went on a run, and we were able to lock it down on defense.”
Fairview came in ranked 11th in the CHSAANow.com coaches poll and sixth in the classification’s Rating Percentage Index. Boulder’s RPI is 47th.
The rankings will influence who will make the condensed, 32-team 5A bracket. The regular season concludes at the end of next week.
Wednesday, the Knights host Loveland and the Panthers are at home against Monarch.