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The Thompson Valley High School boys basketball team knew what to expect and the Fort Collins High School boys basketball team knows what went wrong.
Prior knowledge won out, as Thompson Valley topped Fort Collins 56-48 in the Poudre-Fort Collins Shootout Championship on Saturday at Poudre High School.
Thompson Valley (6-0) is the fifth-ranked team among Class 4A boys basketball teams according to the CHSAANow.com poll. Competing against a bigger school, and bigger team, brought some expectations for the Eagles.
“We knew Fort Collins was going to be a good test for us,” Thompson Valley coach Josh Robinson said.
The Lambkins (4-1) jumped out to a 14-9 first-quarter lead, and feasted upon Thompson Valley’s six turnovers in the opening quarter.
“We talked before the game about their length and what we needed to do to combat that length,” Robinson said. “I think coming out, I don’t think everybody was on board with that game plan. So, timeout, got ourselves collected, and did a much better job of executing.”
Thompson Valley outscored the Lambkins by 13 points the rest of the way thanks to some solid defense on its own behalf (forced 10 Fort Collins turnovers) and a pension for long-range shots (nine of the Eagles’ 18 field goals were 3-pointers).
“I don’t think we put as much pressure as we should have in the second half,” said Toby Van Ry, a Colorado State University commit.
Tristan Von Nieda had 10 of his team-leading 17 points in the third quarter, including back-to-back 3-point plays to give the Lambkins their first lead since early in the second quarter. One was an and-1, the other a 3-point shot. Von Nieda also had 10 rebounds to lead the Lambkins.
“That was big for us,” Duggan said. “He had been kind of quiet all game, and then that kind of got us our lead and got our heads up.”
Thompson Valley immediately stole momentum back, as Fort Collins gave up an easy bucket and then committed a technical foul.
“We played pretty well on defense,” Duggan said. “Our focal point was to try to keep Collin Smith out of the game. We did a pretty good job of that until the fourth quarter when he hit a few baskets in row, which was kind of deflating.”
Eight of Smith’s 14 points came in the fourth quarter.
Fort Collins wasn’t so fortunate with its shooting touch. Van Ry had just eight points, and most of the Lambkins struggled shooting.
“It really came down to the offensive end for us,” Duggan said. “We weren’t taking bad shots, but they just weren’t going in.”
Tyler Silvy covers high school sports for The Coloradoan. Reach him at [email protected] Connect with him at Facebook.com/TylerSilvy or @TylerSilvy on Twitter.