Bad stretch costs Spartans against Roosevelt

By Dan Karpiel
The Surveyor

Just a couple bad minutes can make the difference between winning and losing.

In front of a boisterous, near-capacity crowd at the Berthoud High School (BHS) gym on Tuesday in their penultimate home game of the season, the BHS boys basketball team allowed visiting Roosevelt to score 19 points in the opening two-plus minutes of the second half. Berthoud lost the game by an 86-69 final.

The Spartans were right there, matching and even out-playing the visiting Roughriders for a large portion of the game. But the wheels came off for Berthoud in every way, shape and form as Roosevelt scored 19 points in the opening 2:09 of the second half.

“We needed to have a good three minutes to start off the second half and we just did the opposite,” said sophomore Curtis Peacock.

The Spartans missed some assignments in the low post defensively, surrendering some quick points to stout Roosevelt junior Dillon Tackett. Some ill-timed turnovers, a handful of lightning-quick scores by ‘Rider guard Deaunte Hunt, and a bad call by the officials that led to a technical foul on Berthoud Head Coach Mike Burkett saw a 39-33 Roosevelt advantage expand to 58-33 by the 5:40 mark in the third period.

“I called timeout early [in the second half] because we know exactly what they’re going to do; they run a dribble drive motion set, and when they run off those brush screens they’re looking for that big kid in the middle,” Burkett explained of the opening of the second half.

Berthoud proved up to the task of matching wits with a team fighting for their postseason lives in the first half. Senior Noah Purdy drew five charges in the low-post, the Spartans made nine of 12 free-throws, and proved able to beat the ‘Riders full-court press. A last-second trey from Roosevelt’s Josh Levens gave the ‘Riders a six-point edge, 39-33, entering halftime.

“The guys did all the things that we wanted to do … they stayed with the plan, they got out of the press because we were breaking it, and we got them into the zone, and we had some good looks in the zone,” Burkett said of the first half.

After the rough-go to open the third, Berthoud rebounded well, out-scoring Roosevelt 36-28 in remaining 13:40 of the game. Peacock scored 16 of his team-high, and season-best, 26 points in the second half. Jake Yuska drained a pair of threes and J.T. Lozinski grabbed seven of his team-best 11 boards.

“I just didn’t want to give it up early, a lot of games we lost after halftime, and I didn’t want it to be one of those games, so I just tried to push as hard as I could,” Peacock explained.

Berthoud (2-18, 1-10 conf.) will play their final home game of the season on Feb. 10 when they welcome Frederick (9-11, 4-7 conf.) to the BHS gym. The Spartans will close out the season with trips to Windsor and Mead on Feb. 14 and 17, respectively.