Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Jocelyn Rowley
Sports@lhvc.com 

Slow start dooms Cougars against Silver Creek

 

January 25, 2019

Milo Ostwald

It was another tough week for the Niwot boys basketball team, as they dropped two more conference games, one by a razor thin margin to a top-10 team and the other by double-digits to a very beatable arch-rival. For Cougar head coach Eric Hejl, the most difficult part may have been deciding which one was harder to take.

“Greeley Central probably stings more because I feel like one little thing goes differently and we win that game,” he said after his team fell to Silver Creek by 12 points on Jan. 18. On Jan. 15, the Cougars fell 50-49 to the ninth-ranked Wildcats on a last second three-pointer. “Tonight we would have had to have a lot of different things happening to be able to come out with one. Not that we couldn’t have won tonight, but there were more mistakes that we would have had to overcome. That being said, I really wanted to beat Silver Creek.”

Hejl and his squad will get another chance next month and hopefully they will spend some time before then trying to find the answer to the Raptors’ outside shooters, who struck early and often against the Cougars. A seven-point Silver Creek lead after the first quarter grew to 17 by halftime, and by then Niwot was clearly struggling on both sides of the ball.

“We know enough about them to know that they have the ability to get momentum and put up a lot of points quickly, and we weren’t ready for it in the first quarter,” Hejl said. “I think our shot selection in the first quarter hurt us a little bit, too. We talked about trying to get the ball inside and work inside out and I think we were trying to get a quick start, but doing it by taking shots that were okay, but that weren’t great for us.”

Niwot rallied in the third quarter and managed to cut Silver Creek’s lead to single digits after a 7-0 run powered by Austin Rathburn and Tommy Bounds. Unfortunately, the Cougars couldn’t sustain the momentum, and ended falling to the Raptors 78-66.

Senior Dom Luthens gets into position for a block against Silver Creek on Jan. 18.

“Once we decided how we had to play to be successful, we had some of that success in the third quarter,” Hejl said. “But the consistency has to be there.”

The Cougars’ have another daunting week of Northern League competition ahead, first against No. 8 Centaurus (9-5, 4-1) and then the always unpredictable Mountain View (5-9, 2-3) on Jan. 25. With the losses, the Cougars fell to 7-7 on the year, but are just 1-4 in the Northern League.

“This league doesn’t really give you any breaks,” Hejl said. “So Centaurus is just the next game and the next game’s always the most important. I think they’re a team that if we just play consistently and we play our style the way we’ve been trying to play, I think we can definitely be competitive and win.”

 

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