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Boys Basketball: Cougars split road games against Skyline and Berthoud


December 22, 2016

Sometimes, the shots just don’t fall. Unfortunately for the Niwot boys basketball team, that’s been the story so far this season. Through its first five games, the Cougars are 2-3, with a field goal percentage under 35%.

But head coach Preston Hardy isn’t too concerned about his team’s shooting woes.

“We did not return a lot of varsity experience from last year,” he said. “Right now, we are getting used to shooting in intense atmospheres. Once we become comfortable, our shots will fall.”

In the meantime, the Cougars continue to have offensive contributions from several different players. In their road opener against Skyline on Dec. 13, senior guard Jake Sims hit 4-4 from three-point range to lead all Cougars scorers with 12 points, and also became the fourth Cougar to lead his team in scoring this season. Sophomore Thomas Bounds scored seven, including two three-pointers, while senior forward Adam Barber had six. For Coach Hardy, this offensive balance speaks to his team’s unselfishness.

“We believe in ‘we not me’,” said Hardy. “Our philosophy is to set up our teammate and our teammate will set us up.”

Once again, though, the Cougars offense had trouble finding the net in the first half. However, similar shooting trouble for the Falcons had the Cougars down just 17-15 through two periods. Missed shots would be their undoing in the second half, though. Skyline outscored the Cougars 37-25, winning the game 54-40. Niwot was just 14-49 from the floor (29%), including 7-31 from three point range (23%).

Coach Hardy has faith his team will soon turn it around.

“We are taking good shots and they will eventually fall,” he said.

The offense certainly showed signs of life on the road three days later at Berthoud. Led by a big night from Barber, the Cougars notched their second victory of the season, beating the Spartans 52-37.

Niwot’s offense set a quick pace early, scoring a season-high 12 points in the first quarter, behind Barber’s 2-2 shooting from three-point range. He went on to score 17 points on the night, and was the team’s leading rebounder, with six. Bounds (7) and Sims (6) combined for another 13 points, including half of the team’s six three-pointers.

The Cougars took a 19-15 lead into the half, and kept up the pressure on a flagging Spartan defense in the third quarter. Led by Carter Osteen, who had eight points, Niwot scored 33 second-half points. The senior ended the night with a season-high 10 points, and was second to Barber in rebounds, with five.

Hardy wasn’t surprised by the senior’s breakout night. Osteen, who recently moved from guard to post player, has become a fixture off the Cougar bench this season, with 19 total points, and 13 rebounds. “We know what Carter can do defensively and that energy spills into his offense,” he said. “We moved him to a different position and he is much more comfortable now.”

The Cougars faced the Standley Lake Gators at the Pepsi Center Dec. 19, as part of a promotion with the Denver Nuggets. Ahead of the game, Hardy said his team was thrilled to be playing on the big stage.

“I can’t wait to see the boys’ faces as they run on the floor for the first time,” he said. “It should be a blast.”

The team will take a break over the holidays, and be back on the court Jan. 3 for their first conference game, against Greeley Central.

(12/13) — Skyline 54, Niwot 40

Niwot (1-3, 0-0) 7 8 11 14 — 40

Skyline (5-1, 0-0) 9 8 14 23 — 54

Jake Sims 4 0-0-12, Thomas Bounds 2 1-2 7, Adam Barber 1 4-5 6, Cameron Carlson 2 0-1 4, Alex Helgeland 2 0-2 4, Jackson Kolakowski 1 0-0 3, Jesse Falk 1 0-1 2, Carter Osteen 1 0-0 5 Totals 14 5-10 40

(12/16) — Niwot 52, Berthoud 39

Niwot (2-3, 0-0) 12 7 14 19 — 52

Skyline (1-7, 0-0) 7 8 9 15 — 39

Adam Barber 6 2-2 17, Carter Osteen 5 0-0 10, Thomas Bounds 2 1-2 7, Jake Sims 2 1-2 6, Alex Helgeland 2 0-3 4, Ethan Radatz 2 0-0 4, Jesse Falk 1 0-1 2, Jackson Kolakowski 0 2-2 2 Totals 20 6-11 52


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