Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer
LONGMONT — Frederick boys basketball had fallen out of the good graces of CHSAANow.com’s Class 4A rankings just before winter break. Now that the Warriors have regained their footing at No. 10 in the rankings and RPI, they don’t want to let go.
Since their early peak at No. 9 during the week of Dec. 13, the Warriors had won six straight to prove their worth. They extended that streak to seven on Tuesday night when Niwot came to town and the Warriors knocked them down with an 81-29 victory.
“It feels great to be back in the top 10,” Frederick junior power forward Matias Aldana said. “We worked really hard at practice and we’re doing really good as a team. I think we just played more as a team and not individual basketball. We moved the ball more and we have good team chemistry.”
Frederick held control from the beginning and never relinquished it as 11 boys were able to get on the board. Aldana led his team with a stunning, 18-point performance that focused inside of the arc and at the free throw line. Junior shooting guard Harry Singh followed up his efforts with 13 points and senior guard/forward Bryce Conover added 12 more. Sophomore shooting guard J.J. Strojinc even came off the bench in the last few minutes of the game to net nine of his own in about a 90-second period.
Niwot leaned mostly on the offensive stylings of senior small forward Rowan Granat and senior guard Dev Mudukutore as they scored eight points apiece. Eight Cougars contributed to the cause by connecting with the nylon. The Warriors improved 12-3 and 6-0 in 4A Longs Peak League play with the win. Niwot, meanwhile, dropped to 2-10 and 1-4 in the same league.
“We came out in the second half a lot better than the first half,” Granat said. “We kind of brought each other up in the locker room. We just need to keep that encouragement up with the team. We can learn from it. There’s always something to take and build upon. We can go over parts of our defense and go from there.”
Throughout the contest, the Warriors displayed a high basketball IQ, smart shot selection and fast-paced play. The Cougars consistently found ways to get to the basket as most of their success came from mid-range and with a good number of steals.
It’s Frederick, however, that remains one of the area’s hottest programs.
Now, the Warriors will look to bolster their success when they travel to Severance on Friday night. The Cougars host Thompson Valley on Friday, as well.
“This (streak) will give everybody a lot of confidence, especially going into playoffs,” Aldana said. “It should help us get further. I think we just need to work harder and not give up on games and keep grinding.”