Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Jocelyn Rowley

Cougars cruise by Northridge, but get tripped up by Greeley Central


February 3, 2017

From the outside looking in, it’s been a tough stretch for the Niwot girls basketball team. Winners of just two of the last five games, the short-handed Cougars have struggled to keep key veterans such as Mary Gillett and Y.Y. Chen out of foul trouble and on the court in the late going. With just seven full-time varsity players on the roster, Niwot’s lack of depth has become a factor. But head coach Terri Ward doesn’t think it’s time to hit the panic button yet.

“There’s not a team in the league that plays harder than we do,” said Ward. “And it’s hard because that doesn’t always translate into wins.”

It did translate into one last week. On Jan. 24, the Cougars picked up a much-needed “get-well” win against the Northridge Grizzlies (4-10), who are winless in the Northern League. Ward said it came at just the right time in her team’s schedule, and gave the Cougars a much needed boost.

“Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy,” said the coach of the 10-point victory. “But we were happy that we got it.”

Both teams were sluggish in the early going, scoring 12 points combined in the first quarter. Niwot’s offense finally showed up in the second period, outscoring the Grizzlies 18-6, and the Cougars took a 22-14 lead into the break. Though Northridge kept pace in the second half, netting 27 points to Niwot’s 29, they were never able to close the first-half gap, and Niwot notched its eighth win of the season, 51-41.

Sophomore Zoe Gonzales posted 15 points on the night, leading all Cougars scorers for the sixth time this season. Junior Sophie Grant had 12 points on the night, extending her double-digit scoring streak to four games. Junior Allie Colvin had a season-high 13 points, including all of the team’s three-point baskets (3). Colvin, who was mainly a bench player before an injury to Rosie Setter, has impressed Ward with her leadership in recent games.

“Allie Colvin has done a great job of stepping up,” she said. “She’s allowed me to put some pressure on her to become a better player and step out of the role she normally plays.”

For the most part, Niwot kept out of foul trouble against the Grizzlies, though two quick calls in the first period put Gillett out of action for much of the first half. Back in the second half, she ended with seven points, but was just 1-of-6 from the line. Chen had four points on the night, but just two personal fouls.

“Mary and Y.Y. staying out of foul trouble was the key,” said Ward. “If we can keep those two out of foul trouble, then we’re in a lot better shape.”

Alas, that wasn’t the case three nights later against Greeley Central (10-6). Despite playing “really good basketball,”the Cougars fell 58-46 to the Wildcats, a team coming off a surprise loss to Mountain View.

“I thought we might be able to sneak up on them,” Ward said. “The game was a lot closer than the score indicated.”

Niwot put forth a good offensive effort in the loss, with three players reaching double digits. Gillett scored 17 to lead the Cougars, followed by Gonzales (11) and Grant (10). Chen added another four, while Colvin and junior Shelby Stevens chipped in two points each.

Looking ahead, Niwot faces another difficult stretch, with rivalry games against Silver Creek and Longmont up next. Ward, however, said her team is taking a positive view.

“They’re ready to beat Silver Creek and Longmont,” she said. “We’ve just got to work hard and play hard, and good things will happen if we do.”

(1/24) — Niwot 51, Northridge 41

Northridge (4-10, 0-6) 8 6 12 15 — 41

Niwot (7-6, 2-2) 4 18 12 17 — 51

Zoe Gonzales 7 1-2 15, Allie Colvin 5 0-0 13, Sophie Grant 5 2-7 12, Mary Gillett 3 1-6 7, YY Chen 1 2-2 4 Totals 21 6-16 51

(1/27) — Greeley Central 58, Niwot 46

Niwot (8-8, 3-4) 10 10 13 13 — 46

Greeley Central (9-4, 5-1) 15 13 17 13 — 58

Mary Gillett 8 1-2 17, Zoe Gonzales 5 1-2 11, Sophie Grant 5 0-3 10, YY Chen 2 0-0 4, Allie Colvin 1 0-0 2, Shelby Stevens 0 2-4 2 Totals 21 4-11 46


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