Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer
BOULDER — Savannah Weiss took a few steps past mid-court and launched the ball out of her hands. It fell straight through the nylon as the buzzer sounded for halftime at the CU Events Center in Fairview’s crosstown rivalry contest against Boulder on Wednesday night.
That impressive shot from the Fairview freshman epitomized the battle that ensued between the Knights and Panthers, a game Boulder eventually won 34-27.
Throughout the contest, the Panthers relied on their rebounding to give them a slight edge over Fairview. Those boards proved vital, especially when they started to pull away in the fourth quarter. It was the first time in over a decade that Boulder has been able to take down the Knights.
“That was amazing. We haven’t done it in 11 years and for us as a team to do that, we’ve worked so hard and put so much effort into it that it was great to be rewarded with that dub,” Boulder senior power forward Ella Bartsch said. “I think (the rebounds) were huge. If we weren’t able to secure those rebounds against those taller girls, it would have been detrimental to the end of the game.”
She believes this team has enjoyed more talent and discipline than in years past.
Throughout the contest, Bartsch relied mostly on her inside play and free throw shooting to carry her game-high, 14-point performance. Junior guard Lily Huettel backed her up with nine points. On the other side of the court, Fairview senior Kailey Page took the reins of the offense with eight points, an effort that senior Sophia Hrywnak nearly matched with seven points of her own.
Even though the Knights couldn’t pull off the win, the ladies have seen an uptick in their success since the start of January, a change that Hrywnak attributed to quality time spent together on and off the court. So far, she’s been happy with their progress in 2022.
“I think we’ve definitely worked really well as a team in practice,” she said. “We’re going hard and the coaches are always supporting us when we lose, saying, ‘This is only the beginning.’ We don’t want to peak in the middle, at the beginning of league, especially in the middle of our season. I think we’re definitely on track to do big things. As long as we stay working as a team as we have been, keeping our cool under tough situations, we’re going to be good.”
With the win, Boulder improved to 5-10 and 1-4 in Front Range League play. Fairview, meanwhile, dropped to 6-8 and 1-2 in the FRL. Next up, the Knights will return to their home court to host Horizon on Friday night as Boulder hosts Legacy on the same night.
“Boulder’s a really good competitor,” Hrywnak said. “I think it showed us that we definitely need to focus on finishing at the basket and definitely working together as a team when things get stressful.”