Girls Basketball: Narrow win over Longmont halts four-game skid
Photo by Jocelyn RowleyElise Crall (31) brings the ball up court for the Cougars in their win against Longmont on Feb. 2.

Thanks to an outstanding defensive effort led by seniors Rosie Setter and Allie Colvin, the Niwot girls basketball team snapped its four-game losing streak with a dramatic 34-32 victory over cross-town rival Longmont on Feb. 2. The Cougars forced 23 turnovers on the night, and held the Trojans to their lowest point total since Dec. 7.

“That was a hard-fought win,” Niwot head coach Terri Ward said after her team edged out the Trojans for the second time this season. “Either team deserved to win that game, because both sides played hard.”

Tied at 32 with less than 15 seconds remaining, Colvin snatched the rebound after a Longmont free-throw and ran the ball down court, where her short outside jumper bounced right into the outstretched hands of senior teammate Gillett, who had just enough room to put it up and in for the game-winner.

“Mary happened to be in the right spot,” Colvin said afterwards. She ended the night with nine points and seven boards. “When she gets the rebound she’s not afraid to put it back up and she happened to get it in and score the points.”

A visibly relieved Ward credited Setter and Colvin in particular for keeping the Trojan offense off-balance during most of the game.

“Our defense was the key to us winning this basketball game,” Ward said. “We had a little talk with Rosie at halftime about where she was defensively, just way, way too low. So she adjusted that, and that helped us a ton….Allie did a great job getting her hands on balls and disrupting them.”

Colvin echoed her coach’s sentiments.

“Rosie and I do a really good job of talking to each other and the rest of the team about where people are and what we see,” she said. “It helps everything flow.”

To be fair, neither team generated much offensive momentum, particularly in the second half, which saw the lead change hands seven times. Setter and Colvin led the scoring for the Cougars, with nine points apiece, while team-leading scorers Gillett (7) and senior Sophie Grant (6) were held to a combined 13. The Cougars got a boost from speedy junior guard Elise Crall, who went 2-for-2 from the line during an 8-0 Niwot run in the second quarter, and helped Niwot keep pressure on Longmont during transition.

“She’s playing because she pushes the tempo and the pace of the game,” Ward said. “That’s the way we play. We’re much better when we’re up tempo.”

The win came on the heels of a frustrating 39-37 loss at Silver Creek on Jan. 30. Again, the Niwot defense held its own, but the sharp-shooting offense that put up 62 and 55 points in consecutive games against Thompson Valley and Mountain View, respectively, in January, was notably absent. The Cougars went 14-for-46 from the floor (30 percent), including a dismal 2-for-19 from three-point range. They also had a tough night at the line, going just 7-for-19. Since Jan. 18, Niwot’s scoring average has fallen from 42.8 to 36.8 points-per-game, a drop Ward was at a loss to explain.

“Our shooting is in the lane, it’s not outside shots, it’s in the paint that we can’t make a basket,” she said. “I have no words for why that is.”

With the victory, the streak-prone Cougars improved to 8-10 on the year and 4-5 in the Northern League, good for fourth place. They are currently ranked 47th in the RPI standings with five games remaining. The top-48 teams in the rankings at the end of the season will earn a berth in the Class 4A State playoffs, which begin on Feb. 20.

“We needed to win that one, for RPI, for everything,” Ward said. “We need that win just for us.”

Up next for the Cougars is game two of the season series with Mountain View (Feb. 6), followed by rematches with Thompson Valley (Feb. 8) and Silver Creek (Feb. 10).

(1/30) — Silver Creek 39, Niwot 37

Cougars (7-10, 3-5) 11 13 6 7 — 37

Raptors (4- 13, 3-5) 11 12 12 4 — 39

Sophie Grant 6 3-8 15, Allie Colvin 2 2-5 7, Rosie Setter 2 1-2 5, Marlow Baines, 1 1-2 3, Jaime Lee 1 0-0 3, Mary Gillett 1 0-2 2, Divya Bhat 1 0-0 2, Totals 14 7-19 37.

3-point field goals — Colvin, Lee

(2/2) — Niwot 34, Longmont 32

Trojans (6-11, 4-6) 10 8 9 5 — 32

Cougars (7-9, 3-9) 6 10 8 10 — 34