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Boys basketball: Longmont squeaks past Mead

Trojans defend home court against defending 4A champs

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LONGMONT — Sitting at No. 13 in the Class 4A RPI, the Longmont Trojans did themselves a huge favor on Wednesday night with a 53-48 win over the defending state champion Mead Mavericks.

Down 23-22 at the half, Longmont’s Caleb Johnson was a wrecking ball during the third quarter to help give his team a 41-35 lead entering the final period. From there, the Trojans’ focus shifted to their defense, which was just good enough to hold off Mead down the stretch.

“I just felt all the team come together,” Johnson said of the third quarter rally. “I felt super motivated. It was a close game, so I felt like whatever I needed to do (anything) to help win the game. I just got energized and made a couple buckets.”

The win improved Longmont’s record to 11-5 (4-2 5A/4A Northern) while Mead (11-4, 5-1) dropped its first league game and ended an eight-game win streak. The Mavericks were fifth in 4A RPI before the setback.

Johnson, who finished with 15 points, was far from the only Trojan contributing offensively. Senior Brenden Barcewski scored 14 points of his own and senior Keegan Patterson was money from the free throw line to help ice the win.

Veteran Longmont head coach Jeff Kloster said it was a true team effort and one that should be remembered for a long time.

“We protected our home court, we believed in each other (and) we did it as a team,” Kloster said. “I told the kids to enjoy the moment because there are certain games in the course of your career, you’ll look back on and you’ll say, ‘man, that was so much fun.’ I’m very proud of my team.”

After Mead went up 6-0 to open the game, Longmont relied heavily on its scrappy defense and traded blows long enough to break things open, at least momentarily, in the third quarter. Mead remained within reach in the fourth quarter but couldn’t string enough buckets together to regain a lead.

Mavericks senior and 7-footer James Shiers scored nine second half points and caused trouble for the Trojans on both ends of the floor.

Up next, Longmont will be at Greeley Central on Saturday while Mead will look to start a new win streak on Friday when it hosts Windsor.

While the home victory was certainly enjoyable for Longmont, it’s back to work on Thursday for Kloster’s Trojans.

“We can’t relax because every night in the Northern (League), it’s a dogfight,” Kloster said. “If we live off of tonight’s success and we don’t come ready to work tomorrow, then this win has no bearing on anything else.”

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