Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Jocelyn Rowley
Sports@lhvc.com 

Girls Basketball: Niwot’s comeback bid in Erie falls short

 

December 7, 2017

Ed Navarro

Senior Mary Gillett (13) on defense against Frederick in the Cougars’ season opening game on Nov. 29, while Rosie Setter (12) looks on.

Led by senior guard Mary Gillett’s 16 fourth-quarter points, the Niwot girls nearly pulled off an improbable comeback against the Erie Tigers last Friday night. Down by seven with just over a minute to go, Gillett rattled off four points in the next 45 seconds to bring the Cougars to within three. After a forced turnover at half court, her senior teammate Sophie Grant evened it up at 55 as the last seconds ticked off, forcing overtime in a game that was seemingly out of reach just seconds earlier.

Alas, tying the game seemed to exhaust the Cougars’ momentum, and they failed to put up much of a fight against the Tigers during the four-minute overtime period. Erie went on an 8-0 run over the first 2.5 minutes, and went on to win the game 63-59.

It was the team’s second loss in as many games so far this season, but head coach Terri Ward was relieved by the degree of improvement she saw in her team between the season opener on Nov. 29 and the resilient performance against the Tigers two nights later.

There’s no doubt that we were a way-better team tonight,” Ward said after the narrow loss. “If we’d played like this on Wednesday, there’s no way Frederick would have beat us. Our defense was better, way better.”

In the season kick-off game against the Warriors two nights earlier, the Cougars managed only 30 points total and were plagued by turnovers, careless passes, and missed opportunities. Nor could they find a way to stop Frederick’s hot outside shooter Tori DuFour, who had 24 points in the Warriors eventual 53-30 victory.

Ward urged calm after that first game, despite her team’s uninspiring performance. “We need another couple of games under our belt to really see where we are and see where we go from there. It’s game one; there will be 22 more.”

During the first quarter of the Erie game, however, it seemed as though a little panic might be called for. Though the Cougars were clearly moving and passing the ball more efficiently, their seeming inability to stop the Tigers from scoring in the opening minutes prompted a firm remonstration from Ward during an early time-out. Even so, Niwot was down 14-4 going into the second quarter, and Gillett was sitting with two fouls. The Cougars doubled their scoring in the next eight minutes, led by Grant’s eight points, but still trailed Erie by nine heading into the break.

Though Ward doesn’t remember saying anything particularly inspirational during halftime, Niwot showed a definite spark in the third quarter. Paced by senior Allie Colvin’s six points, the Cougars outscored Erie 18-15, and starting clawing their way back into the game. Colvin finished the night with seven points, but left the game in the fourth quarter with an injury.

After the game, Ward singled out Colvin for her ability to fight through adversity and handle pressure. Earlier in the game, the coach had some pointed words for senior guard, but knew the Army-reserve enlistee could handle the criticism.

The fourth quarter belonged to Gillett, who brought the Cougars to within three in the quarter’s opening minutes, and then again in the closing one. Overall, she had 20 points on the night, second only to Grant’s 21. Senior forward Rosie Setter had six points, while sophomores Nikki Sims and Elise Gillett combined for five.

Following the game, Grant said the biggest difference between their first two games was in attitude.

“You could feel the energy a lot more tonight, and the bench was so much louder. We didn’t just let each other fall down, and we celebrated the little things.”

Overall, Ward was impressed by her seniors and their leadership in the would-be comeback, especially Gillett and Grant, who combined for just 12 points in the season-opener.

“They weren’t happy with how they performed; they knew that wasn’t who they were,” Ward said. “That’s the good thing about having a senior-heavy team—I don’t necessarily have to challenge them as much. They challenge themselves.”

Niwot opens at home against Mead on Dec. 4, and then heads back out on the road on Dec. 8 for the first league contest of the season at Greeley Central.

(11/29) — Frederick 53, Niwot 30

Cougars (0-1) 3 7 7 13 — 30

Warriors (1-0) 9 23 10 11 — 53

Ed Navarro

Senior Mary Gillett leaps to block a shot by Frederick’s Shea Chavez in the Cougars’ season opening game on Nov. 29.

Rosie Setter 3 1-3 7, Mary Gillett 2 2-3 6, Sophie Grant 2 2-5 6, Jaime Lee 0 3-4 3, Nikki Sims 1 0-0 3, Sophie Storz 1 1-2 3, Marlow Baines 0 1-2 1, Divya Bhat 0 1-2 1, Allie Colvin 0 0-0 0, Elise Gillett 0 0-0 0 Lily Sieben 0 0-0 0; Totals 9 11-21 30.

(12/1) — Erie 63, Niwot 59

Cougars (0-2) 4 11 18 22 4 — 59

Tigers (1-0) 14 10 15 16 8 — 63

Sophie Grant 8 4-12 21, Mary Gillett 9 2-6 20, Allie Colvin 3 1-3 7, Rosie Setter 3 0-0 6, Nikki Sims 1 0-1 3, Elise Gillett 1 0-0 2, Sophie Storz 0 0-0 0, Marlow Baines 0 0-0 0, Divya Bhat 0 0-0 0, Jaime Lee 0 0-0 0, Lily Sieben 0 0-0 0, Sophie Storz 0 0-0 0; Totals 25 7-22 59.

 

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