By Dan Karpiel
Eight minutes might not seem like a long time. But in a basketball game, it is an eternity.
In playing their opening Tri-Valley Conference (TVC) game of the year, the Berthoud High boys basketball team fell to Erie by a 78-64 final score. Despite matching Erie in points in the third period, out-scoring them in the fourth, and trailing by just three after the first, the 25-10 beat-down the visiting Tigers put on Berthoud in the second was too much for the Spartans to overcome.
Erie ended the first period on a 6-3 scoring run and began the second with a 6-0 run, transforming a game that was knotted at 10-all with two minutes remaining in the first to a 22-13 Tiger advantage just two minutes into the second. Berthoud made good on eight of 10 free-throws in the second, but Erie sank nine shots from the floor. The Spartans did not make their first field goal until junior guard Wyatt Stratmeyer hit a jumper just 18 seconds before halftime.
Asked what went wrong for Berthoud in the second frame, Head Coach Mike Burkett answered “I wish I knew the answer to that question. We got away from what we wanted to do, we want to push the tempo and we got away from doing that … we just didn’t run our offense. We’re still a half-step behind sometimes.”
The Tigers took a 41-23 lead into the locker room at halftime.
“I think we just started getting mentally out of it there for a little while and we need to get better at that, we just have to stay engaged in the game for the whole time,” Berthoud’s Matt Mesikapp said. The junior, who saw his first action of the year after being laid-up with a quad injury to begin the season, came in off the bench to hit four treys in the fourth quarter that gave Berthoud some late life.
“You just pay attention to everything, make sure you stay engaged mentally, and once you get on the court everything will fall in place,” Mesikapp said when asked about coming off the bench cold and playing hot.
The junior’s 12 points were bested only by senior Noah Purdy, who hit a three from downtown and made seven of eight from the charity strip to pace Berthoud with 20 points. Purdy scored eight of Berthoud’s 10 first-quarter points and contributed a pair from downtown in the third as the Spartans attempted to battle back from their 18-point halftime deficit.
Tristan Workman scored seven in the third and Curtis Peacock and Jake Yuska each chipped in another four as the Spartans worked to fight back. A pair of threes from Ethyn Tyson and eight combined from the Tiger’s massive post players William Campbell and Cameron McCurry helped Erie maintain their third-quarter lead and hand Berthoud their eighth-straight loss.
Berthoud (1-9, 0-1) faces Skyline (5-2, 0-1) in a TVC game in Longmont on Jan. 6.