Berthoud Boys Basketball Falls to Niwot 73-38
By Dan Karpiel
The Berthoud High boys basketball team dropped their second consecutive home game on Saturday evening in a 73-38 thumping at the hands of the Niwot Cougars. The loss drops the Spartans to 5-9 on the season but because Niwot is an out-of-conference opponent, Berthoud will not lose any ground in the 3A Patriot League.
As a team, Niwot features six players measuring 6’1” or taller, giving them a significant size advantage over Berthoud. The Spartans’ biggest weakness all season has been their relative lack of size. Berthoud has often been able to overcome this disadvantage due to their quickness and efficient shooting, especially from long range. Yet on Saturday night Berthoud struggled mightily from the floor, making good on only 13 of 42 shot attempts.
“We were out-manned, they’re bigger and they might even be quicker,” Berthoud High Head Coach Pete Scheck said following the game and added, “right now we’re just not playing very well.” Junior guard Zach Ruebesam was succinct in his post game comments stating, “It was tough, they’re just a big team.”
The game got ugly for the Spartans early on. Niwot began the game with 15-1 scoring run thanks in large part to three consecutive three-pointers by senior Sam Forrer. The Spartans did not score from the floor until Ruebesam sank a jumper at 2:20 mark in the first period. Berthoud was able to mount a small charge in the final two minutes with baskets from senior Cameron Botts and sophomore Alex Santos, cutting the Cougars’ lead to 17-8.
The Spartans had an opportunity to make up some ground on Niwot in the beginning of the second period as the Cougars committed traveling violations on three straight possessions. Unfortunately, Berthoud’s shooting woes continued and, despite the turnovers, Niwot began the period with a 7-2 run. Junior forward Greg Hutchins, who has been the most consistent shooter for Berthoud this season, did not make his first basket of the night until only 30 seconds remained in the first half. Niwot out-scored Berthoud 21-9 in the second period and held a commanding 38-17 lead at halftime.
Berthoud continued to have trouble making baskets in the second half as they were out-scored 13-21 in third period and 14-8 in the fourth. To make matters worse for the Spartans, two key players – junior Jeese Queen and Santos – left the game with injuries in third period. Santos hit the back of his head on the hardwood and Queen landed awkwardly on his left side. When asked about each players’ status after the game Scheck said, “I think they’re okay, Alex we’re not sure on but Jesse is fine.”
When the Spartans struggle to consistently make baskets from outside they have trouble winning games. On Saturday night Berthoud was only 2/19 from three point range. “A lot of the way we’ve dealt with size is by shooting the ball well and we just haven’t done that the last two games,” Scheck explained. When asked about Berthoud’s recent struggles consistently making shots, Ruebesam said, “I think it’s mindset….we just need to get our confidence back up and know that we can play well.”
The Spartans will try to rebound on Tuesday night when they make a trip to up to Ault to take on the 7-7 Highland Huskies.
The Lady Spartans also fell to Niwot in a much closer game, losing 56-51. The Longmont Times Call has a nice photo essay of the game, click here to view.