LONGMONT — This might just be the Montrose boys basketball team’s year.
For the first time since 1992, the Indians played their way into the Class 4A Final Four. On Thursday night, the third-seeded Indians advanced past that point, winning 48-33 over No. 2 Longmont on the road at Longmont High School.
For the Longmont Trojans, who admittedly did not play their best game in the semifinals, the season ending in the Final Four was at least a fitting end for a Jeff Kloster-led program that just competed in its third Final Four in four years.
“It’s obviously not what we wanted,” Trojans senior Eddie Kurjak said. “Playoffs are tough and it’s hard to win a state championship. Montrose brought their A-Game. That’s a great group of guys, they definitely didn’t deserve a loss tonight and I wouldn’t be surprised if they go out and win the whole thing.
“For us, I think it’s good that we kept that winning tradition going. Kloster just does such a great job every year of instilling winning and just the will into all of his players. When you have a group of 12 guys who are all-in every day, a hundred percent, and are willing to work and you give that to Kloster, he’s going to do something great with it. It’s not how we wanted the season to end but I’m proud of my team and all the guys.”
The Trojans (13-4) led after the first quarter on Thursday night but the Indians (18-0) took control after that, holding LHS to 10 points in the second and third frames combined. Kurjak (19.3 ppg) led Longmont with 10 points and the Trojans held Montrose well below their usual scoring average of 66.9 points, but Longmont turned the ball over 18 times and never found its rhythm at the offensive end of the floor.
“I thought there were things we could have done better, obviously, executing,” Kurjak said. “It was a low-scoring game and we held them under what we were trying to hold them under. We just couldn’t find the groove on offense. Sometimes, you just have a rough night.”
Junior point guard Keegan Patterson scored eight points for Longmont. In the Montrose scorebook, Fletcher Cheezum led the Indians with 14 points and Luke Hutto scored 13.
Longmont has reached at least the Great 8 in eight of the last 12 seasons, including five Final Four appearances, one runner-up finish and a state championship in 2018.
In Sunday’s state championship game, Montrose will face another top-tier basketball club from the area it just left in the No. 5-seeded Mead Mavericks. The Mavericks defeated No. 9 Pueblo South in the semifinals on Thursday night.