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Cougar Boys Struggles Through the Week


February 17, 2016

Coming into the week, the Niwot High School boys basketball team really needed to win their four remaining games in order to keep their post-season hopes alive.

Unfortunately they could not get back on the winning path, dropping both games. The Cougars lost an away game at Thompson Valley on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 64-54, then lost at home on Thursday, Feb. 11 to Mountain View, 64-55.

Niwot Head Coach Preston Hardy said after the Mountain View game that luck just wasn’t on their side this week.

“Basketball is a funky game, couple shots here or there and it goes a different direction,” Hardy said. “I’m just proud of these boys, they fight to the end.”

Though the week didn’t go as planned for the Cougars, they definitely got a fantastic performance from their best player last week. Senior Ryan Kannegieter was on a tear, putting up 23 points with five 3-pointers against Thompson Valley while also finishing one rebound short of a double-double. He followed that up with an 11-point, four-rebound, three-assist game against Mountain View.

Hardy said Kannegieter has carried the team as well as he could this year, and will be a great asset for the team that picks him up to play at the next level.

“When I first got here I was told [Kannegieter] was just a scorer,” Hardy said of his senior star. “That couldn’t be further from the truth - he is a complete basketball player.”

Against Thompson Valley, the Cougars jumped out to a 17-2 lead after the first quarter but were outscored 20-3 in the second quarter putting them down by two going into halftime.

While Kannegieter was able to score at will, the other Cougars struggled to put the ball in the basket. No other Niwot player was able to score in double digits, but junior Jacob Sims was able to put up nine points though on three 3-pointers.

The Mountain View game started off similarly, with Niwot opening up the first quarter with a 16-12 lead. They were outscored in every other quarter though, and couldn’t muster enough to finish their comeback bids.

“It’s tough, when their best player went out with four fouls we kind of had a mental lapse,” Hardy said after the loss to Mountain View. “We’ve been in every game. There’s really not a logical explanation for why we can’t get over the hump.”

Senior Walker Bounds led the team in scoring against the Mountain Lions with 16 points, while senior Michael Agado also pitched in 13 points.

With Kannegieter’s 11 points it was the third time this season that the Cougars had three players score in double digits.

Hardy said it was great to see the work his seniors have done pay off, even if the team wasn’t able to pull out the win.

“That’s not a coincidence,” Hardy said of the fact that his three senior captains all scored in double digits. “Add in Noah Radatz winning the sportsmanship award at the end of the game, and that is our leadership council.”

The Cougars have not fulfilled their goals for the season, but that does not take away what they have accomplished given that this has been a rebuilding year. With a new coach and only three returning seniors who had any kind of varsity experience it was always going to be an uphill battle for Niwot this season.

“February is a tough month in high school basketball,” Hardy said. “We are on the outside looking in and it would be easy to quit, but our leadership wouldn’t let us do that.”

Moving forward, the team still has a slim chance of making the playoffs if they can win their final two games and finish their conference schedule with a 6-8 record.

When asked how the team puts this recent three-game losing streak behind them, Hardy said they just have to be mentally tough.

“MTXE baby: mental toughness, extra effort,” Hardy said. “We will bounce back, there is no doubt in my mind. I’m not worried about us, we will take care of business. We need to finish this thing. We need to finish with character, pride, heart, and determination.”

The Cougars look to finish their season on a positive note with their final away game against Centaurus Wednesday, Feb. 17 at 6:30 pm, then end their season at home against Northridge for senior night on Friday, Feb. 19.

Niwot 17 3 13 21 – 54

Thompson Valley 2 20 24 18 – 64

Niwot: Jackson Kolakowski 0 0-0 0, Ty Vigil 0 0-0 0, Joseph Ho 0 0-0 0, Walker Bounds 2 3-4 7, Ryan Kannegieter 8 2-3 23, Noah Radatz 2 0-0 5, Adam Barber 3 0-0 6, Michael Agado 1 0-0 2, Jacob Sims 3 0-0 9, Michael Oliver 1 0-0 2. Totals 20 5-7 54.

3-point field goals – Niwot: Kolakowski 0-2, Radatz 1-1, Kannegieter 5-10, Barber 0-1, Agado 0-1, Sims 3-8.

Rebounds – Niwot: Kolakowski 5, Ho 1, Bounds 3, Kannegieter 9, Barber 3, Agado 1, Vigil 1, Oliver 2, Sims 1.

Total fouls – Niwot: 10

Mountain View 12 17 13 19 – 64

Niwot 16 10 16 16 – 55

Niwot: Jackson Kolakowski 0 0-0 0, Ty Vigil 2 0-0 4, Joseph Ho 0 1-2 1, Walker Bounds 7 1-1 16, Ryan Kannegieter 4 0-0 11, Noah Radatz 0 0-0 0, Adam Barber 2 0-0 5, Michael Agado 5 2-2 13, Jacob Sims 1 0-0 3, Michael Oliver 1 0-0 2, Shane Ryan 0 0-0 0, Roberto Ramirez 0 0-0 0. Totals 22 4-5 55.

3-point field goals – Niwot: Bounds 1-1, Kannegieter 3-9, Barber 1-4, Vigil 0-2, Sims 1-4.

Rebounds – Niwot: Ho 2, Bounds 6, Radatz 1, Kannegieter 4, Barber 4, Agado 3, Oliver 2, Sims 2.

Total fouls – Niwot: 23, Mountain View: 15.


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