Granby " Middle Park boys basketball team runs hot and cold |

Granby " Middle Park boys basketball team runs hot and cold

Will Bublitz
Sky-Hi Daily News
Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi Daily News
ALL | Sky-Hi Daily News

Last week was one of contrasts for Middle Park High’s boys basketball team as they easily won against one team and then just as easily lost to another.

On Tuesday, Jan. 22, the Panthers hosted Nederland, a team they have easily beaten over the past few seasons. And as expected, Middle Park once again whipped their opponents by a wide margin, 71-48.

“It was just a nice game for us,” said coach Brian Reynolds. “We gave our non-starters a lot of playing time in that game. It was a good, solid win.”

In the first quarter, Middle Park’s hoopsters jumped out to a huge 20-4 lead and then expanded it to 38-14 by halftime. By the end of the third quarter, they held a 53-28 margin and then coasted to the easy victory.

Reynolds praised the performance of his players, especially leading scorer Justin Cisneros, who stepped up to earn 16 points.

“Justin was aggressive both on offense and defense,” he said. “He created turnovers where he stole the ball and ran back down to score on layups.”

The team’s other high scorers were Zilvinas Sutkus and Jared Rojo, with 10 points each, and Brian Reynolds and Andrew Clausen, with nine points apiece.

“This was a good game to get those players who don’t see a lot of varsity playing time out on the floor,” Reynolds said. “That will help us make decisions on who to sub when we get low on the bench in upcoming games.”

Traveling to Lafayette on Friday, Jan. 25, the Panthers took on Peak to Peak. Middle Park led for three quarters, but then a surge by Peak’s players stole the victory away from the Panthers 66-60.

“Some games just don’t go as well as you’d planned, and this was one of them,” Reynolds said.

The first quarter was pretty tight with Middle Park emerging with a one-point lead 18-17, but then battled ahead in the second to take a 38-30 lead by halftime.

“We shot a lot of free throws in the first half,” Reynolds said. “We were 13 for 18 from the free-throw line, which was nice.”

As the second half began, Peak to Peak started to pick up the pace of its attack. Their players also started making more free-throws, which cut down Middle Park’s lead to 49-47 by the end of the third quarter.

In the final quarter, Peak to Peak powered into the lead by eight points, but Middle Park battled back to within three points with 1-1/2 minutes left.

“We had to start fouling in that last 1-1/2 minutes, but we were not able to come back,” Reynolds said. “Ian Sutton, our key ballhandler and team leader, fouled out of the game at that point. That caught us mentally off balance and we were not as effective.”

Looking back on that game, Reynolds said the Panthers made some significant mistakes that cost them.

“We gave up some turnovers at important times in the game,” he said. “We also let Peak to the free-throw line too often in the second half, where they made 15 of 27.

We’ve got to be smarter and not allow them these types of opportunities.”

Zilvinas Sutkus had an outstanding game, earning 27 points and making 10 rebounds. The only other Panther in double digits was Ian Sutton, with 17 points.

The Panthers were supposed to play a home game Tuesday, Jan. 29, but their opponents from Weld Central thought the roads were too dangerous to drive because of snow. The game has been rescheduled to Monday, Feb. 18.

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